Monkey Boy makes Pavlova!

by Sarah on May 5, 2009

One evening (after I finished cleaning the kitchen) I found my son flipping through a cookbook looking for a something whip creamy and sweet to make and he stopped at a picture of a gorgeous pavlova.

“I am making this!”
“No you are not!” I didn’t feel like cleaning whip cream stains off the ceiling.
“Why not? I will clean everything!”
“Oh sure, do you really want to make a dessert named after a sissy ballerina?”
“Oh come on! I promise I will clean everything, who cares what it is named after, it’s going to be great”
“I am warning you! I will not be helping you! You will do everything and clean afterwards”
“Mom, I have everything under control! Can I please, please, pleeeeeeaaaase, plEEeeeAAAaaaaSe make Pavlova?”
“Ok! Ok! OK! You can, but remember your mise en place”
“Never mind”

The truth is I think it is important for kids to be independent, responsible and creative. Super kids are hustled into one activity to another and lack the most elemental thing in life-free time and imagination. Many kids, left to themselves, have no idea what to do and invariably go to the computer or TV to fill in the void. There is a price to pay of course (broken egg shells all over the table), but the benefits are enormous for there is nothing like the pride of doing something yourself. The kitchen, the hub of the house is the perfect place for a child to get creative, even at a young age.
As a kid I was expected to clean after myself, I know now that I probably made more of a mess than I ever realized. When I tell my son, Alon, to clean up a puddle of yogurt from the kitchen table he takes a sopping wet dishcloth and spreads the yogurt evenly across the remainder of the clean table and drips the dishcloth across a couple chairs and all over the floor before it reaches the sink. But slowly, S l o w l y , S l o w l Y he and his brothers are learning, and when he is twenty he won’t think it is an indignation to put his plate in the sink after he finishes eating.

Creativity is one thing that is important for me to instill in my children, but independence is another. With these two traits children will climb to new heights, perhaps a bit too high. Although I am happy that my boys have the self confidence to do their own thing, sometimes I am in a continual state of stress at the things they attempt to do. Excuse me a moment while I try to get my boy down.

“Get down here! Monkey Boy!! You will not be allowed to cook in the kitchen for a week!”
“But I have my bike helmet on”
“How is it going to help you if you fall off that pole??? Get down NOW!!!”

So here is tough kid’s favorite Strawberry Pavlova Recipe


I told Alon
“Make sure there is absolutely no yellow in your egg white and make sure the mixing bowl is clean, otherwise it will never whip properly!”

4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornflour, shifted

1 cup heavy cream (at least 38% fat)
1 tablespoon sugar
Fresh fruits, such as strawberries

Heat the oven to 180 C (370 F).On parchment paper draw a circle of 18 cm (7 inches) diameter. Rub a bit of oil or butter on the parchment paper and dust with cornflour so that the meringue releases easily.

Whip the egg whites, first on low speed then on high speed until they are stable and hold soft peaks. Add the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon and continue whipping at high speed for another 10 minutes or until the meringue is stiff and shiny and the sugar is dissolved.
Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornfour and fold into the meringue using a wide spatula until incorporated.
Using a spatula or piping bag, create a circular meringue on the parchment paper, slightly higher on the outside so there is room for the whipped cream and fruit.
Put the meringue in the oven, and reduce the heat to 125 C (250 F) and bake for 1 hour. The outside should be hard and cream colored and the inside, soft, like a marshmallow but not liquid. Close the heat and open the oven door and let cool completely.
Release the meringue from the parchment paper and place on a large serving plate.
Before serving, whip the cream and sugar until stable and pipe or spoon into the middle of the miringue. Top with seasonal fruits such as strawberries, peaches and apples.

Later in the evening I wanted to make omelets for dinner.
“Alon, where did you put the eggs?”
“I finished them on the pavlova, I used 10 eggs, but only four of them separated properly”
“Ok! Pavlova for dinner everybody!”

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