July 28, 2008

Michigan berry sorbets in mini pavlovas

I went a little crazy the last time I went to the Royal Oak Farmer's Market. I managed to hit the perfect time when there were still Michigan strawberries (which were at their end) as well as local raspberries and blueberries. Four quarts just had to come home with me! Tiny fragrant Michigan strawberries, black raspberries, red raspberries and blueberries were quickly turned into four single note sorbets. Ok it wasn't that quick, the ice cream freezer had to chill for 15 hours between each batch, but it was worth it! To serve them all together I made local, Michigan, Recipes: individual pavlovas. A pavlova is usually a large cake sized meringue that has the addition of cornstarch and vinegar. Pavlovas are lovely and crisp outside with a soft, fluffy interior. I actually over baked mine a little. Alex and I were having a picnic in the backyard while they were cooking. In my opinion this only made them better. They had a toasted marshmallow flavor and a chewiness that worked perfectly with the fragrant, tart sorbets.

I'm adding this to the latest Sugar High Friday hosted by Susan of Food Blogga. Sugar High Friday is a blog event created by Jennifer the Domestic Goddess. This SHF theme is berries. Stop by Susan's site Food Blogga in early August to see the other posts.

Basic Berry Sorbet
Makes ~ 1 pint
1 quart of berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries*)
~1 cup sugar
juice from half a lemon

-Dump berries and lemon juice in a food processor and add two thirds of the sugar. Process until smooth and taste for sweetness. It should be just slightly sweeter than you would want for sauce. Add more sugar as needed. *Note: To get the most color and flavor from blueberries it's best to smash them in a pot with the sugar and then cook just until the berries give up their color. Then add the lemon juice and adjust the sugar as needed.
-Strain sorbet base through a fine sieve to remove seeds. Refrigerate until cold.
-Follow your ice cream maker's directions and then freeze til solid, ~2 hours.

Michigan berry sorbets: clockwise from top left
blueberry, strawberry, black raspberry and red raspberry

Mini Pavlovas
Serves 4
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

-Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
-Whizz the sugar in a food processor or blender to create a finer grain but not powder.
-Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
-Slowly add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, beat between each addition.
-Beat until mixture feels smooth to the touch, no grains of sugar remain undissolved.
-Fold in the vinegar and cornstarch.
-Visually divide the mixture in fourths and spoon onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
-Form four relatively equal mounds and create a shallow depression in the middle.
-Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The finished pavlovas should be cream colored and the surface should be dry and crisp.
-Turn off oven and open the door slightly. Allow the pavlovas to cool until they can be handled.
-Serve filled with fruit, sorbet or ice cream. Store in an air tight container for a day or two if it is not too humid.

More pavlova recipes for inspiration:

Joy of Baking pavolvas
Smitten Kitchen pavlovas
Pistachio pavlovas (Food and Wine Magazine)
Coconut pavlovas with tropical fruit (Food and Wine Magazine) *I have to do this soon!
Vacherins with raspberry sorbet (Epicurious)