Another Mother’s Day is upon us and with each year, my attitude towards motherhood shifts, changes, settles happily and uproots again. I am loving this current year of being Teddy’s mom – the excitement of starting school, the beginning of after-school activities like art class with one of my favourite Vancouver ceramic artists and freaking adorable micro footie soccer (I can’t stop smiling watching the games. Hordes of four and five year olds moving like schools of fish chasing a ball). Teddy’s Kindergarten year has flown by so quickly. My heart hurts as his limbs get longer but my heart is so full at the same time. As I am aging and dealing with residual health issues, I am getting farther away from the idea of having a second child and I’ve gone through so many emotions over this. Some days I am so gloriously happy that I only have one child, and our little family of three is my greatest joy. Other days I Instagram-vortex gender reveal videos (such happiness! The cheers, the tears!) and find myself longing for another baby. There is a lot of grieving in infertility, and in aging itself. The years passing, and life experience gained, love and loss, all of this make you stronger and wiser! I really am grateful for so many things.
Milky earl grey tea is my comfort and I wanted to translate that into a simple dessert. Hence, this earl grey cream pavlova dotted with macerated raspberries and strawberry slices, crispy meringue kisses and beautiful dried edible flowers. While there are a few components to make, each step is easy and hopefully won’t cause you any stress. Whip the egg whites with sugar, spread on parchment paper covered baking sheet, pipe the remaining meringue into kisses. Mix fruit with some sugar and lemon to get the berry juices flowing. Steep heavy cream overnight with earl grey tea bags, then whip into thick lightly sweet clouds. Assemble and serve! Isn’t it pretty??
I made this twice, and the first time I used egg whites from a carton out of sheer laziness – don’t do this! Crack fresh eggs and you will find your billowy fluffy stiff meringue will come together so much easier. I also tried making a reduced raspberry sauce for some pretty drippiness and vibrancy – what I ended up making was raspberry flavoured fake blood/ketchup! I opted instead for the very easy macerated berries effect which gave me the juicy drippiness I was after! Note: make the meringue the evening before and steep the earl grey tea overnight as well.
Earl Grey Cream Pavlova
For the pavlova
- 6 large egg whites, freshly cracked and separated. Reserve yolks for another use (I made vanilla pudding)
- 1 cup superfine sugar, Blend regular white sugar in a food processor until fine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the macerated berries
- 1 cup mixed berries, I used raspberries and thinly sliced strawberries
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- pinch of salt
For the earl grey cream
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 3 Earl Grey teabag satchels, or 6 teaspoons loose leaf tea
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
Make the pavlova
- Preheat the oven to 200 °F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a completely clean stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed for one minute to froth it up and build some body. Then, whip on medium-high speed for 8 to 10 minutes total – once soft peaks begin to form, start adding the lemon juice, and the sugar one teaspoon at a time. You should have stiff, glossy peaks. A stiff meringue = a happy pavlova.
- Using a rubber spatula, pile the majority of the meringue onto the center of the parchment paper covered baking sheet. Using an offset metal spatula, spread the meringue into a large dinner plate sized round.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star or round tip with the remaining meringue. Pipe meringue kisses surrounding (but not touching) the central meringue, or pipe another parchment-covered baking sheet with kisses.
- Place in bottom rack of oven. Do not open the door to check on the meringue at any point! Bake for ninety minutes; when the baking time is up, turn the oven off and let the pavlova and meringues cool completely inside the oven without opening the door. You can even bake this in the evening and turn off oven before going to bed, leaving overnight.
Macerate the berries
- Combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice and pinch of salt in a small bowl and let the mixture sit until things get juicy and shiny, about 30 minutes.
Make the earl grey cream
- In a large glass jar with a lid, steep the earl grey tea in the heavy cream overnight in the fridge. You can also use a large glass covered with plastic wrap.
- Once steeped, remove the teabags and give them a good gentle squeeze to get all that earl grey milky flavour out. Your cream should now be very slightly light brown from the milky tea.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the earl grey cream and sugar until firm peaks appear. Do not overmix.
Assemble the pavlova
- Gently place the completely cooled meringue on a large round plate.
- Dollop a generous amount of earl grey cream on top, using an offset spatula to gently spread the whipped cream to the edges of the pavlova.
- Using clean hands, place slices of macerated berries all over the whipped cream, or for a more rustic look simply spoon berries on top of the cream. Use a small spoon to drizzle some of the berry juice on top.
- Add organic edible flowers or dried tea flowers (I used pink carnation petals, dried blue cornflowers and dried purple globe amaranth flowers).
- Add crispy meringue kisses.
- To serve, use a sharp knife and cut into slices and add an extra spoonful of macerated berries and their juices to each slice.
- Leftover pavlova can be stored in the fridge loosely covered in plastic wrap but note that the pavlova and the meringues will lose their crispness factor!