I was never a huge fan of pavlovas, the dessert. They always seemed so airy and pouffy; I leaned more towards desserts with substance. If the pavlova was topped with fantastic fruit like sweet raspberries, etc., for me it was about the berries and cream, not the meringue. But it’s funny how particular people can influence you to change your opinions about a dish. If you watch Nigella Lawson make a passion fruit pavlova, you have an almost pavlovian response… Heehee. She makes things look so easy and her descriptions of food are so sensual, you are at least tempted to give a dish you would have normally eschewed another try… So Nigella is the inspiration for this dish, and the base recipe for the meringue is hers, google it if you are interested.
But increasingly, it isn’t JUST about reading an interesting recipe or watching a neat segment on a cooking show. I find that more and more I am cooking based on what I find in the markets, with what’s naturally in season, with bottled or canned goods that were presents from friends from their travels… I guess I am getting more comfortable in the kitchen. Willing to “wing it” or experiment, to sometimes total disasters and occasionally a nice result… So besides the Nigella segment i saw a few days ago, we happened upon some ripening probably totally organic passion fruit in the Bacolod market (photo above) that the vendor sold to us for just 50 centavos (1 cent) each and I took some of these home to Manila. Then I realized we also had a bottle of passion fruit preserves in the pantry, a gift from a friend who came back from a trip several weeks ago. A quick check in the freezer confirmed I had some frozen egg whites saved from a leche flan so everything was set to try a passion fruit pavlova!
Make the meringue according to Nigella’s recipe, but keep the oven a little cooler than she suggests or double up your pan to ensure that the bottom of the meringue does not burn. I did a two layer pavlova instead of one. To the whipped cream I added some sugar and several tablespoons of passion fruit preserves and spread the cream on the first layer of meringue and added some fresh passion fruit.
I topped this with another layer of meringue, more cream and lots of passion fruit on top, both fresh passion fruit and the remaining preserves. Serve soon after assembly. It looked great. It tasted okay. I particularly liked the sourish notes of the fresh passion fruit with the sweeter preserves and the cream. But now I am back to reality. I am still not fond of pavlovas… :) If you do want to make this and don’t have the preserves, just heat up some of the fresh passionfruit with sugar over low heat until dissolved and a bit syrupy… in other words, homemade preserves.