I never grew up with meringue; it never topped a pie at the family Thanksgiving, or graced a tiny crystal dish on the coffee table when people came to visit. So what prompted an old time New England girl to pick up a whisk and a carton of eggs?
It was a November evening and while discussing plans for Christmas and the plans of Christmas past with my International Man of Mystery, he asked if I had ever had a Pavlova.
“A Pavlova?” – while I had never heard of the simple traditional desert the very name intrigued me. Fast forward to Christmas: The weather mild for Washington, DC in December. Picture a long table filled with the laughing and reminiscing of Kiwis far from home, an absolutely fabulous, unique, group of individuals I was honored to get to know. The meal was fabulous, a classic Christmas dinner. Then desert rolls around and all eye turn to me, the only American at the table, as it is made known this would be my first taste of “Pav”. All suspicions were confirmed: This was the desert to end all deserts. A slight crunch on the outside guarded the fluffy cloud inside, topped with fresh fruit and cream, I knew I had to take this back to New England to share with friends and family.
I took it on as a mission, turning to the classic Edmonds Cookery Book with a bit of advice from the Mystery Man himself and a dozen eggs I churned out my first Pavlova. The simplicity of the dish (mainly egg whites and sugar), the complexity of the techniques, and of course the light and airy sweetness set the road to my obsession. Just watching the mixture shift from a clear to sparkling white in the blender, the stiff peaks raised up a question that would spark an obsession:
What else can I do with this?
This obsession with meringues has rapidly become a new found passion. First and foremost, I love finding new recipes, trying them out, sharing them with friends and family to see what they think. In short, sharing an experience in food that isn’t commonly found in my little corner of the world.
Of course, with every great passion comes a dream. Mine just happens to involve the idea of a little shop, the window filled with colorful meringue kisses, various airy confections crowding the counters and a back refrigerator stuffed with eggs.
But in the meantime, I think I will carry on baking, because I rather adore it!