Sunday, 4 September 2016

Recipe: Pineapple & Passion Fruit Pavlova

Fresh pineapples and passion fruit are easy to get your hands on at this time of year and are relatively inexpensive to buy. I normally prefer to use Irish fruits and vegetables in my cooking and baking but I find it hard to resist the seductive flavours of these tropical fruits. Our summers may be largely non-existent but this delicious dessert always makes me think of sun-soaked beaches and hot climates. The recipe may seem a little tricky at first but it is much simpler to make than it looks. If you like you can omit the passion fruit curd and fill your pavlova with just the pineapple.

INGREDIENTS:

Pineapple Flowers:
1 whole fresh pineapple

Pavlova:
6 large egg whites
375g caster sugar
1 level tblsp cornflower
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Passion Fruit Curd:
6-7 passion fruit to make 125ml passion fruit pulp, seeds sieved out
½ lemon, juice only
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
75g caster sugar
65g butter, cubed

To finish:
250ml single cream, gently whipped
Fresh pineapple chunks (off-cuts from making the flowers above)
Passion Fruit Curd (see above)
Pineapple Flowers (see above)
Pulp of two fresh passion fruits

METHOD:

Pineapple Flowers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 100C/Fan Oven 80C/Gas Mark ¼.
  2. Cut the top off the pineapple and, with the pineapple in an upright position, carefully remove the skin using a sharp knife.
  3. Place the pineapple on its side. You will notice that the pineapple ‘eyes’ run diagonally around the fruit. Using a sharp paring knife make v-shaped cuts along these rows to remove the eyes.
  4. Once the pineapple has been peeled, start slicing it to create this slices about 2mm-3mm in thickness. Place the pineapple slices onto some kitchen roll to absorb excess moisture and then place on to baking trays lined with silicon mats or parchment paper. Make sure that the pineapple slices do not overlap.
  5. Place in the oven for 60-80 minutes, flipping the pineapple slices halfway through so that they dry evenly. The pineapple slices will shrivel slightly during the drying process but will feel papery when sufficiently dried.
  6. Remove the trays from the oven and using a palette knife carefully lift each pineapple slice off. They will remain malleable while they are still warm and you will be able to shape them into flowers using a muffin tin. Allow to cool and dry completely. Store in an air-tight container until required.
NOTE: Keep any fresh pineapple offcuts for filling the pavlova.

Pavlova:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Draw a 20cm circles onto each of three separate sheets of baking parchment  and use to line three baking trays making sure that the circles are on the underside (you’ll still be able to see them through the paper). Set aside.
  2. Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer whisk them to the soft peak stage. Gradually add in the caster sugar, whisking well after each addition to create a glossy meringue which holds its shape.
  3. Sift over the cornflour and add the vinegar, mixing briefly so that they are just incorporated.
  4. Spoon the mixture, dividing it equally, onto the three prepared baking trays using the circles that you have drawn as a guide. Smooth the surface of two of the meringue discs but keep aside a few tablespoons of the meringue mixture for the final disc. Pile this in little blobs over the top of the final disc, swirling each blob gently with a fork or cocktail stick. This will be the top layer of your pavlova.
  5. Place the baking trays into the preheated oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 120C/Fan Oven 100C/Gas Mark ½. Bake for 1 hour exactly and then turn off the oven. Allow to cool completely in the oven before removing.

Passion Fruit Curd:
  1. Whisk together the passion fruit pulp, eggs, yolk and caster sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for approximately 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
  2. Pour into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.
 
To Finish:
  1. Carefully peel the parchment paper off the meringue discs. Place one of the plain discs on your serving plate/cake stand and spoon over half the cream. Scatter over half the pineapple chunks and a few teaspoons of the passion fruit curd. Lastly, drizzle over half the passion fruit pulp. Top with the other plain pavlova disc and repeat. Finally top with the remaining pavlova disc and decorate with the pineapple flowers.
 
Serves  8-10 people.