A couple of months ago, I instituted a new rule at my house. Each daughter is to make one meal a week for the family. It’s been a good rule. The kids have learned some great kitchen skills, and I have had a little time off from dinner prep. My youngest, Megan, has embraced the challenge. She has become quite a good cook – and adventurous! She actually made my husband’s birthday dinner - Greek dolmathes (lamb stuffed grape leaves) and a “from scratch” cake with chocolate buttercream .
Well, Megan decided that she really likes to give food as gifts. I was delighted when she announced that she was going to make me a Pavlova for Mother’s day. I was delighted, but a little apprehensive. I wasn’t really sure what a Pavlova was, and it sounded difficult! A quick search and I found that a Pavlova is a famous dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It is a large meringue disk, topped with whipped cream and fruit. Wow! Sounds great! So I bought her the ingredients, and she got to work.
A Pavlova is quite a bit easier than it sounds. Egg whites are beaten until foamy, sugar and a bit of vinegar are added, and the mix is beaten until stiff to make a meringue. The meringue is then spooned onto a parchment lined sheet in a disc shape. It bakes in a very low oven (200 degrees F). The oven is turned off when the Pavlova is hard and shiny and the meringue is left to rest in the oven overnight.
Well, Megan’s Pavlova turned out to be a delicious and quite beautiful triumph! She topped the meringue with lightly sweetened whipped cream and a combination of red raspberries and blackberries. It was crunchy, sweet, soft and fruity – just wonderful. She served it with a proud flourish and a smile on her face.
I’m so glad that Megan has discovered a love for cooking. It’s so fun to watch her plan her next project, work through a recipe, and problem solve along the way. What’s best, though, is the look of pride and accomplishment on her face as she serves her food. I’m happy to say that she’s done it. She has truly become confident in the kitchen.