by Madeline Laughs
I was making a couple of chocolate pavlovas the other day and thinking about being thankful for the good things and people in my life.
I needed 12 egg whites.
I crack them one at a time in a bowl and dump them in the mixer that is already spinning. I do it this way because you never know when you might damage the yolk and it will ruin the egg whites. Funny how one small slip in life can damage so much hard work. It’s better to be cautious than to be ruined.
I only damaged one yolk and was able to scoop out the creamy yellow using the egg shell.
Crack, open, cradle the yolk in one half of the egg shell while the gooey, snotty white drapes in strands into the bowl. I know there are kitchen tools that make this foolproof, but I’m a purist and prefer to be a fool with my egg separation technique. Drop the yolk in another bowl to save for another recipe and dump the egg white into the mixer.
It’s comforting to have something versatile. It’s soothing to have another project, another adventure to look forward to. What will I make with 12 egg yolks?
They are already starting to froth.
Beating egg whites always reminds me of the ocean on an angry day. How powerfully frothy those waves can get as they pound away at the shoreline. Since moving back to the beach I have reconnected with some of the best people earth has to offer. I always wonder if the constant reminder of the sea makes them so strong and resilient. Like the ocean they remain vigilant and loyal and like the egg white they change before your eyes into beauty.
The mixer whirs and splashes the egg whites building them into a white fluffy cloud. They rise from the bottom of the bowl as air is layered within making them creamy, soft and firm all at the same time. I can see them taking shape, becoming peaks of snowy goodness.
I was inspired to start putting up some of my recipes when I started reading another blogger. Her recipes are so much fun to read and her pictures are clean and interesting. I like how she introduces her food to the world. You have the added pleasure that her recipes come to you all the way from Spain.
The egg whites are ready for the next step. I tug the lid from the granulated sugar canister and slowly start adding 2 cups of sugar, one tablespoon at a time, to the spinning mixer of egg whites.
This takes some time. I add a spoonful of sweet and watch it spin away into the cloud.
I like making Pavlova.
I add 96 tablespoons of white granulated sugar to the stiff, white peaks of egg whites. They now shine with sticky sweet.
I turn the mixer off and the room becomes silent except for music playing softly in the other room.
To the top of the mound of white I splash 2 teaspoons of dark balsamic vinegar. It rolls and drips into the snow cloud making a brown stain on top. I sift 4 tablespoons of semi sweet dark cocoa powder. Now the mountain has a smattering of wet and a dusting of brown. From my pestle I sprinkle 2 ounces of crushed semi sweet chocolate morsels making fat brown rocks that tumble into the bowl. They promise richness and depth.
With my spatula I gently rock and fold all of these ingredients together. Carefully I generate a rhythm. Folding from the outside of the bowl to the center and then back again.
The cloud becomes dark.
I marvel at the way life can change with just as much speed and repetition. One day you’re happy, light and free and the next you’re weighted with the day to day and your world can become dusky and sad.
I dip my finger into the raw batter and taste a promise.
I scoop and ladle the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The oven has been heating to 350 degrees and dinged to let me know that it’s ready to cook. I make two cookie sheets of pavlova. I round them out and pile them high.
Now the cocoa colored mixture is 2 round circles of goo. I pop them into the hot oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. I set the timer for one hour and fifteen minutes.
And I wait for the world to bake and become a gift of gratitude.
The house fills with the smell of baking chocolate and exactly one hour and fifteen minutes later I open the oven to a blast of aromatic lustiness. I press my finger in the middle and feel the squidgy promise of melt-in-mouth memories.
Just like all of us as we age and bake under the hot sun, the Pavlova sports a delicate outside crustiness while maintaining a soft, gooey interior.
I can dress this Pavlova however I please. Decedent whipped cream and tart berries. Chocolate sauce and crushed nuts. Fresh, ripe fruit, sliced bananas. Or I can eat it just as it is, fresh from the oven.
I hope that if you try this recipe it will give you the time you need to reflect on just how alike we are when we mix and fold and gather together to enjoy one luscious bite of this thing called Life.
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