Monday, January 26, 2009

Poached Peach Pavlova - Sundae Special!

Poached Peach Pavlova
Home Cooking


I couldn't resist the alliterations in the title. In truth, I had no idea what I should call this post because what I did was create these monster desserts that could have had any of (or all of) the components I shoved on. At one stage, yes they WERE poached peach pavlovas but then, I piled on loads of good things and ended up with a monstrous sundae (which explains the duel title).

You can take away from this post whatever you like - I'm hoping to just provide you with some ideas of how you can use the various sweets I made yesturday.

I mean, what does one do when they've made a cup of marshmallows, a saucepan full of hot fudge sauce, chocolate waffle crisps and homemade vanilla ice-cream? Why... make it into a sundae of course!

I'll start by going through the peach pavlova...

Poached Peach Pavlova
Makes 2-3

Ingredients:

For meringue nests (from "The Perfect Scoop")
  • 2 large egg whites (about 1/4 cup), at room temperature
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g)granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g icing sugar
For the poached peach
  • 2 small-med peaches, cut in half and stone removed
  • a syrup of white wine/white rum, apple juice and pineapple juice (quantities depend on your own personal preference)
To serve
  • cream/ice-cream
  • fresh sweet cherries, cut in half and pitted

Procedure:

Meringue nests
1. The meringue nests are time-consuming so you want to get started on those. Preheat your oven to 100 degrees Celsius.
2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, begin whipping the egg whites with salt at medium speed till frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until egg whites begin to thicken and hold their shape.
3. Continue whipping whites while adding the granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time. Once sugar is all added, add the vanilla and continue to whip for about 2min until stiff and glossy.4. Remove the mixer bowl from stand and sift the icing sugar over the meringue whilst folding it in gently. I thought this would be sugar overload but was too scared to cut back in case it compromised the texture of the baked meringue.
5. Divide the meringue into 2-3 (depending on how big it got) portions and use a wet spoon to shape into circles. Use the back of the wet spoon to smooth out the middle and create nice nests.6. Bake them for about 1 hr. Turn off the oven and let them sit there for an hour more. This is to help achieve the crisp exterior.Note: I accidentally misread 200 degrees F as 200 degrees Celsius so my meringues got a bit browned on the exterior before I turned down the heat. This only affected the aesthetics, they still tasted awesome. My meringues ended up with a light and crisp shell and sticky, gooey inside. I did think they were a bit too sweet so you might want to reduce the sugar (or leave out the icing sugar stage). The sweetness is countered if you eat them with whipped cream.
Poached peach
Note: I got the idea for using the juice/alcohol mix to poach the peach because I just happened to have some left-over cocktail at home. Charlie is the mixologist of the house but whilst he gets the flavors right, he always makes too much so we end up with glasses full of fruit cocktail in the fridge. I didn't want to use a plain sugar syrup for my peaches so I used the sweetness and alcohol content of my cocktail to poach the peaches.
1. Heat a deep frying pan. Put the peach halves skin-side-up onto the pan until the skin is softened.
2. Add your juice/alcohol mix (or water and sugar if you want a more basic approach) until the peaches are about 1/2 covered. Lower the heat and pop on the lid. Let the peaches sweat and steam in the fruity syrup for about 10min till they are soft throughout. I also turned them onto the skin for a bit but that may have not been necessary.
To assemble
1. Get your meringue nests ready and fill with cream or ice-cream. I also scattered some cherry halves in there (keeping with the Summer stone fruit theme).
2. Balance your peaches on top and there you have it!Option 1: with cream

Option 2: with ice-cream

3. If you're insane and want to go further, read on.

DEATH BY SUNDAE...


I warn you - this may not be the best way to eat peaches or use up your sundae ingredients. I just got carried away and piled everything together, Jenga-style. I couldn't even get a good photo in the end because by the time I was through, everything was melting and oozing all over the place.My suggestion is that you use your peaches in a light, fruity dessert like above, complimented with some other fruit and not overloaded with chocolate. I think my sundae would have been nicer without the peaches and cherries and similarly, the fruit would have been nicer without the confectionery adorning it. This is a lesson in moderating your flavors.

I think the best ULTIMATE SUNDAE would be:
  • Ice-cream (vanilla or chocolate... simple is best)
  • Hot fudge sauce
  • Marshmallows
  • Almond flakes
  • Waffle crisps (homemade or store-bought wafer crisps)
  • Maybe a dollop of cream on the side.
Best use of poached peach would be:
  • Meringue nest
  • Bit of vanilla ice-cream/cream
  • Fruit syrup (the syrup it was poached in would be ideal)
This is my opinion in reflection based on what I did last night. What I did last night was just have EVERYTHING together and hope for the best. It was still good but not the best use of ingredients.

WARNING: the Ultimate Sundae (as suggested above) is not for any dieting individuals out there. It is HEAVY stuff. Share with your loved ones! I love nuts, fudge and ice-cream :)

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