So, I was making peanut butter pots de creme (recipe coming soon to a blog near you) and I ended up with 8 egg whites left. I really didn’t feel like making an angel food cake, or a pie or…
I decided to make pavlova. Pavlova was created in New Zealand (although some believe Australia) in the 1920s in honor of the Russian dancer, Anna Pavlova. It is generally a crispy meringue shell filled with fruit and cream — very elegant and delicious. The hardest thing about making it is letting the meringues crisp up in the oven without getting in too much of a hurry.
You see, the crispy meringues balance the rich cream and a tangy fruit adds the perfect balance to all the sweetness. There was just one problem…
I was fresh out of fruit. Dang.
I began looking around the pantry and found a box that had been sent by Marx foods. Yep, I was entered in yet another recipe challenge – this time I had to use at least two random ingredients from the box I was sent, without knowing what would be in the box… I like the show Chopped. I decided that I would somehow use the ingredients in my pavlova.
The box contained dried chanterelle mushrooms, yellow eyed peas, coconut sugar, Japones chilies and New Mexico chilies. I do love me some chilies……
I decided to go with a spicy chai flavor and grabbed a chai teabag. I added two Japones chilies, a whole New Mexico chilie and dropped in two cascabel chilies for good measure. These were still lurking in my pantry from the last challenge.
I let the chilies and the tea steep for 20 minutes and then broke the peppers up and tasted the broth. It was very spicy but I was sure that it would calm down once it was baked – at least I hoped so. I carefully squeezed the teabag and the chilies into the water and then strained it. I had about 1/4 cup of the “tea” with which to flavor my pavlova meringues.
Be careful when you are adding the tea to the meringue mixture. You want to make sure it is blending in well and not making the meringues too soft. Add a tablespoon at a time and make sure that you maintain the stiff, glossy peaks.
The meringue shells are crispy, spicy and reminiscent of chai but with a gentle kick. The fluffy whipped cream has a unique flavor from the combination of the coconut sugar, a uniquely sweet flavor, and the maple. Together the combination is unbeatable. Perfect for autumn.
The meringues will keep for weeks in a cool, dry, airtight container. Just don’t fill them ahead of time or they will be soggy.
The coconut sugar and chilies can be found at Marx Foods
Disclaimer: Marx Foods provided me with the ingredients for this challenge at no cost.
© 2011 Marye Audet