Sunday, April 21, 2013

PB & J Pavlova


A few weeks ago when I posted about my last batch of mustards, a got a few comments from friends who thought it was a post about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at first glance, and that got me thinking about the good ol' PB & J. We've all had them and we all know that they taste good, but I think when you get older and try a wider variety of foods and tastes, you can forget just how good those kinds of simple flavor combinations really are. So, I decided to make a more grown up version of a PB & J sandwich by fusing the flavors into a pavlova (there are layers! That is...kind of sandwichy.)

PB & J Pavlova

If you are unfamiliar with pavlovas, they are essentially layered "cakes" made from meringue discs, fruit, whipped cream, and sometimes fruit preserves. But the meringue discs in a pavlova aren't like the hard little meringue cookies you get at the store, instead they are crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside, kind of like a toasted marshmallow. I incorporated peanut flour into the meringue and the whipped cream for some of that creamy peanut flavor, and made some quick strawberry preserves for layering along with fresh strawberry slices. At first I topped it with just a strawberry cap as a garnish, and then with several whole strawberries. You can see in the very last photo of the post that the weight of them made the meringue discs crack a bit, but it still held together just fine. So it's entirely up to you if you want to have a teensy cute little garnish or a giant heaping one.

PB & J Pavlova

But when it was all combined together, it created this wonderfully rich amalgamation of different flavors and textures. Sweet, creamy, fruity, nutty, crunchy, whipped, wet, dry...it was as if all of my favorite desserts aspects (aside from custard) had been combined into one dish. I have been trying to cut down on sweets lately, and was going to have Jeremy take this in to work last Monday so his coworkers could eat it...But alas, here it remained in our fridge, victim to the evening snack and afternoon dessert, until all that was left was a crumb of meringue and a smear of jam. As you can see from the photos, this was quite a feat for two people. But we managed. And I think you will, too.



Ingredients:

Strawberry Jam

2 Cups Strawberries, chopped
1/2 Cup Sugar

Peanut Whipped Cream

3 Cups Whipped Cream
3 Tablespoons Peanut Flour


Peanut Meringue Discs

6 Egg Whites
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Peanut Flour
1 Teaspoon Corn Starch
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt

Garnishes

1 Cup Sliced Strawberries
6 Whole Strawberries (optional)

PB & J Pavlova

First, make the meringue discs. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until they begin to stiffen but aren't dry. Gradually beat in the sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Continue beating on high speed until the egg whites are shiny and thick, then fold in the vanilla extract, corn starch, and peanut flour. Spread the egg whites out in 3 separate smooth-topped 8-inch circles on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving 4 inches between them. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Then turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly ajar (about a quarter of the way open) and the pavlova to cool to room temperature. Then remove the pavlova from the oven.

PB & J Pavlova

While the pavlova is baking and cooling, you can make the whipped cream and jam. To make the whipped cream, whisk together the whipped cream and peanut flour until nice and thick. Cover and refrigerate until use.

PB & J Pavlova

To make the jam, heat the strawberries and sugar over medium heat until simmering. Lower the heat to a simmer and allow the jam to cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and place the pot in the refrigerator until ready to use.

PB & J Pavlova

When everything has cooled, you are ready to assemble the pavlova. Remove one of the meringue discs from the baking sheet (I've found that two pancake spatulas placed underneath either side of the disc do a good job of transporting it without cracking) and place it on the serving surface. Lightly spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the dsic, then lightly spread a small amount of the jam on top. Layer the slices strawberries in a circle around the outer border and continue in towards the center. Stack the second meringue disc on top and repeat this process. For the third disc, repeat the same steps with the whipped cream and jam, but be more generous with the jam and whipped cream since this is the top of the pavlova. Garnish the top with a leftover strawberry cap or the whole strawberries. Serve immediately.

PB & J Pavlova

PB & J Pavlova

PB & J Pavlova

PB & J Pavlova

43 comments:

  1. This is absolutely gorgeous! Love, love, love!

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  2. Looks great! Love the photos too :)

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  3. Ok as a proud and patriotic Aussie (and part Kiwi), I gotta clarify that pavlovas are not in fact layered cakes. In fact pavlovas are never stacked and it should be served as one thick disc of meringue (or mini "nests") with a marshmallowy centre topped with whipped cream and fruits. And traditionally the pavlova is never made with nut flours (technically that's more of a meringue gateau thing). Sorry, I don't mean to nitpick but I've been seeing heaps of these stacked and layered meringue gateaus on blogs (none of them Aussie mind you lol) that are being inaccurately labelled as pavlovas. It's practically a national dish here so it's something that I'm annoyingly pedantic about.

    Nitpicking rant aside, your dessert is still incredibly beautiful! :)

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    1. Haha thanks! And interesting! I did not know that pavlovas traditionally are not stacked. I just love that stacking lets you eat more of it at once :)

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  4. A PB & J pavlova?? GAH, I must have this (ps gorgeous photos, lady!).

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    1. Haha, thanks Stephanie!! I miss eating it already...that meringue is my achilles heel!

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  5. Hi Eva,

    This is just so awesome. I loved your photographs and love reading your photos and learning from them.

    Love the first photograph. Love the use of side light and very cool photo. The colors of the strawberry have been captured amazingly rich.

    Love your overall site them as well. Pretty cool.

    Neel

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    1. Thank you so much Neel! That is so kind of you to say :)

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  6. This is such a gorgeous combination of flavours. I'm made peanut butter and jam (I can't call it jelly, even though it's an American combo, in my British brain it's always jam!) cookies but this is so much more elegant and refined. Pinned to make IMMEDIATELY.

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    1. Ooooh I love peanut butter and jam cookies!! Aren't they just the tastiest? And I love that the English say jam, is sounds much more elegant than jelly, I have to say :)

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  7. Absolutely gorgeous! Stunning photos!

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  8. Beautiful photos Eva! I love traditional pavlova- what a fun and unique spin on it!!

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    1. Thank you Audra! Pavlova is so delicious, a really elegant sweet. So perfect for the coming warmer months!

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  9. This is why you should win best original recipes. This is amazing! I eat PB&J most days for lunch still...sometimes I get away from it for a few months, but I always return. It's quick, it's cheap, and it's comforting. I love, LOVE that you put peanuts into the meringue and the whipped cream. That is such a novel idea! I do love the texture of pavlova, but the one time I made them, I found them too sweet. Something about this version--I think it's the peanuts; then I'm not eating pure sugar, you know?--makes me think I would like these very much. Also, I'm glad my silly comment about your mustards turned into this :)

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    1. Hahaha, thanks Brianne! You are my newfound pavlova inspiration! I did not win unfortunately, but just being nominated blew my socks off so I think winning would have resulted in a stroke, so it's probably all for the best! And I am with you all the way when it comes to pb & j sandwiches! I like to make them at work sometimes, just so easy and delicious and comforting. And I do think you would like this version of pavlova better, the peanut flour really helps cut back on the excessive sweetness that meringue can sometimes have. It gives it a bit of a salty nutty flavor that really does balance the dish quite well.

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  10. Yuuuum! What a crazy awesome pavlova. :) It's so true, those poor PB&Js just seem to fall to the wayside as we get older. I haven't eaten one in years, I'd say, and that seems kind of bizarre to me now. And the flavor combination in a dessert is kind of blowing my mind. I feel like you always see peanut butter + chocolate, and rarely peanut butter + fruit. That should change!

    And I'm loving all your instagram pics from KAF! It looks like so much fun. :D So glad you got to hang out this weekend — I had a blast! (Oh, also, talking cameras and photos and stuff sent me into a bit of a tizzy, and I went a little nuts and bought a Mark II yesterday! I'd been under the impression [for like, years] that you couldn't use some of the lower-end Canon lenses on the Canon 5Ds. But I was just doing a little research yesterday for funsies, and I realized that they seem to support any Canon lens with the EF mounting system. And that got me pretty excited, and started an ebay hunt. I got into [and lost] a bidding war with someone for a really nice one that had a split focusing screen. After I angrily devoured the rest of that delicious pumpkin muffin, I eventually found another one that had an even lower shutter counter, so that was great. Ahhh!! OK, enough of the camera talk!)

    Also, you should email me your address so I can send you some mead and some homemade sriracha. :) (Hopefully I can ship wine through the mail? I feel like that's a thing that people do...)

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    1. Yes, PB & fruit are amazing together. The nutty fats and the juicy sweet fruits make an amazing pair!

      And I am SO happy we got to hang out!!! I had more fun with you than I've had in a while, even if that crepe girl was snotty (those Turkish pastries were way better than crepes, anyway!) I just sent you a long email about your camera purchase, but ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! I am so excited for you!! I can't wait to hear what you think of it. Tell me all about it once you're settled in to using it.

      KAF was a complete blast and I feel much more confident as a baker after those classes. I really recommend participating next year, it is so close to you and everyone at KAF is so incredibly nice and smart and they really just love baking, which comes across in the way they teach and talk about food. Plus there is a farm tour which was really beautiful and informative. Oh! And we made pizzas with ramps on them! So I know you would love being there :)

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  11. Not only is this absolutely gorgeous but it sounds so stinking good as well! Lovely photos!

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    1. Thanks a ton Andrea! It was easy to make something so drippy and meringue-y look pretty haha :)

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  12. what an impressive dessert! you've absolutely classed up the childhood favorite. :)

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    1. Haha, perfect! That is just what i was going for :D Thanks Grace!

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  13. Absolutely gorgeous! I love the peanut butter and jelly twist on this.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! After this I have learned that PB & J can be applied to almost any dessert with delicious results :)

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  14. oh my! Totally impressive and gorgeous - this would be such a dinner party show-stopper!

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    1. Thank you Chelsea! I agree, it would be perfect for entertaining :)

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  15. Uau this is amazing:) Love it!

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  16. WOHA!!! This is treat for the senses!! Just beautiful :)

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    1. Haha, thanks Nandita! You are very kind to say so :)

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  17. Definitely the most glamorous PB&J I've ever seen! Stunning photos.

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    1. Thank you so much Sue! I appreciate it :-)

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  18. What a great flavor change from a standard pavlova! Everyone would have fun eating this. Your presentation is stunning!

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  19. This pavlova is absolutely stunning!! What a unique and tasty variation. Love it!

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  20. This is absolutely stunning!! I've been wanting to make a layered pavlova recently, but I don't think it would compare to yours! I love the idea of the pb and jam flavour too.

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  21. OMG this sounds absolutely delicious!! I must try this some day soon! Thanks for sharing =)

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  22. Im just wondering about the oven heat .. isn't 300 too high ? once i tried it and its get burned half way the baking .. i love and adore the recipe already xoxo

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    1. Hi Qaftan! 300 is not too high, it is the standard temperature for baking pavlovas. I recommend purchasing an oven-prooh thermometer to hang in your oven so you can make sure your oven's interior matches the temperature on the oven's dial. I've had my oven break down before and the temperature inside was at 500 when the dial displayed 350, so it's always good to have a thermometer inside of it just to be sure of the precise temperature :) Also, make sure your oven rack is not placed at the highest rack.

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  23. Gorgeous photos! You have an amazing blog!!

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  24. Is really beautiful and I suppose the taste is fantastic. I love it, thanks for shared it.

    Mary F.
    www.maryfernandezparra.com

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