Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kitsch-en Kounter: Pink Lemonade Pavlova

It may seem supremely un-wacky tacky, but the fact is that I have a passion for film noir.  I think it is because I am particularly simple-minded, not always understanding the many convolutions of plot but usually able to grasp the concept of good guy and bad.  I rather enjoy the exaggerated stylings of both the fast-paced, slang-ridden dialogue and the crisp, well-tailored clothing and hats (film noir has the best costuming).  As much as it is film noir's biggest cliché, I am nevertheless amused when characters are marked as "hard-boiled."  I would relish the opportunity to be so described.  I couldn't even be described as soft boiled.  At this point, the best I can ever hope for is "poached" - gelatinous, ghostly white, and ultimately, quite runny.

As disgusting as eggs (and their human counterparts) are when pondered too deeply, I can't help but love them.  Over-easy, scrambled, coddled, or fried, I will take an egg just about any way it comes.  When in Japan, we went to a hip pizza joint in Kyoto that served both our pizza and our salad with quivering poached eggs atop, baptized so briefly in boiling water that they appeared to be held together by prayer alone.  Wanting to avoid the nightmare of every international traveler (a raging case of salmonella poisoning), everyone in our party rather coyly ate all the way around the eggs.  Mary said that if she was going to get any kind of food poisoning, she wanted it to come from subpar sushi or contaminated horse meat.  Feeling brave, I finally broke the yolk; the velvety, richly-golden goodness that flowed therefrom blessed every remaining bite of that meal.

Where do baby bunnies come from?
Easter eggs!

Yes, eggs are magical - except for the gross white stringy part.  Because they are so versatile and so symbolic of the Easter season, I wanted to highlight eggs in our Easter Kitsch-en Kounter recipe, using them in two ways that I had never had the temerity to use them before.  I have always wanted to make a Pavlova, that pillowy, '20s-era, meringue confection from New Zealand named for Russia's greatest ballerina, Anna Pavlova.  Given that it is Easter, I thought I'd make the pavlova a pale pink.  Options for filling a pink pavlova are endless but in my best effort to again feature the humble egg, I opted for a thick, rich lemon curd.  I can't tell if it was a good idea to combine two things I'd never made before into one Easter dessert but as in many cases, ignorance can be empowering, if not entirely blissful.

The Pink Lemonade Easter Pavlova
A blissful view this ain't but blissfully delicious it was!!!
There really was no good side from which to take the finished product's photo but I
suppose it is as important to share the ecstasy of victory as well as the agony of defeat.
Fortunately, a bed of dyed-green coconut makes everything better.

For both the crackly, crumbly (and maybe under-baked) pavlova and the smooth, luscious lemon curd I will take full credit.  As I was ad lib-ing a meringue recipe for the pavlova, I thought to myself, "This baking stuff is easy.  I don't know why the experts always make it sound like such an exact science..."  I guess that's because it is.  Removing the pink, lemon-perfumed pavlova from the oven, it looked perfectly puffed and pretty; as it cooled it started to rapidly deflate.  When it came time to assemble it, it started cracking around the edges.  Undeterred, I figured the lemon curd (made with strict adherence to recipe guidelines), the pink mommy & me Easter bunnies, the speckled eggs, and the bed of freshly-mown coconut grass would be enough to disguise its many imperfections.  As delicious as the lemon curd was, its powers to save the pavlova pile-up were quite limited.  As with most Kitsch-en Kounter experiments, it comes down to a matter of the tortoise and the hare; taste reigns supreme, with looks running a very distant second.  Actually, I can't be sure if that makes "taste" the tortoise of the hare...

Thinking that I might get ambitious and make a black & white pavlova as
a tribute to film noir, I went ahead and made a chocolate bunny as well.
Based on the "roaring success" of the pink pavlova, I figured I'd let
sleeping Easter Bunnies lie...especially since their unblinking, beady,
pink eyes kept following me around the room.

Are you making any special recipes for Easter this year?  Have you ever experienced a triumph in making a pavlova?  With a video of the triumphant Anna Pavlova dancing her signature piece, "The Dying Swan" (an accurate reflection of our pavlova), we wish you and yours a very Happy Easter!

"The Dying Swan" - Anna Pavlova


Mr. Tiny