Red Bean and Pomelo Pavlova
Pavlovas never ranked high on my list of favourite desserts (both to make or to eat), so I never thought a recipe for one would be featured so early in the life of this blog. But things happen when you least expect them to, and this monster of a dessert is a perfect example, as it was motivated by three completely unrelated things:
One – Zoe Francois’s freakin’ dreamy pavlova meringue dome, which I’ve been meaning to recreate for the longest time but never found occasion to, until now. Though my meringue dome did collapse onto itself like the singing volcano from the “Lava” Pixar short, I think the cracks gave it a bit of a rustic charm. Plus, a larger crater = more filling! So all is good, I still lava it.
Two – a desperate hankering for red bean and matcha, which explains the matcha-flavoured meringue and red bean cream topping.
And three – an oversupply of pomelos in the house. Mom bought back over a dozen of these massive citruses from Ipoh, some nectarine-sweet with golden-yellow flesh, some ruby like a grapefruit and deceptively puckery like a Midori Sour. Here’s a tip, if there’s any fruit you don’t quite like, turn it into jam/marmalade. The usual cheek-pinching bitterness of the latter pomelos made for a pretty impressive marmalade! The bitter-sourness still remained, but by cooking it down with some added sugar, it sure became a lot more amicable!
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Matcha, Red Bean, & Pomelo Pavlova
Makes a pretty massive pavlova (~10-inch across)
4 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoons green tea powder
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ tablespoons (20g) cornstarch
1 pomelo (~800g), reserve the peel and pith, and save half of the flesh for garnishing
juice of ½ a lime
Red bean cream
150g whipping cream
100g chunky red bean paste (you can make your own by boiling soaked red beans with an equal amount of water for 1.5-2 hours)
Matcha meringue: Place the egg whites In a mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes until it reaches medium-stiff peaks (TKTK LINK). (Make sure there’s no oily residue in your mixer bowl as it’ll mess with the inflation of the egg whites.) While the egg whites are mixing, mix the sugar, salt, and green tea powder together, making sure no lumps of green tea remain. Add this to the whipped egg whites and continue beating until the meringue reaches stiff peaks. Fold in the vinegar, vanilla extract, and cornstarch.
Plop the whipped meringue onto a lined baking tray (or silicon mat), and shape it into a rough dome using a spoon or spatula. Swipe your spatula, or use your finger to clean up the bottom edge of the dome. To get the meringue into a volcano-like shape, indent the top of the meringue dome to make a shallow crater. Then, using a spatula, swipe and smooth out the dome from the bottom up. Repeat this swiping action all around the dome. (See Zoe Francois flawless technique here.)
Bake the meringue immediately in a 150°C oven for 40 minutes, and then at 135°C for a further 1 hour. Then, turn off the oven and leave the meringue in the oven for at least an hour, letting the residual heat finish off the baking process. Once it’s done cooking, remove the meringue from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature.
Pomelo marmalade: Peel the pomelo and separate its flesh from the peel and pith, and break up the pomelo flesh into thumb-sized chunks. Make sure there’s very little of the fibrous pith still attached to the flesh as it’ll make the jam a little bitter and stringy. If you’re working with a whole pomelo, make sure to reserve half of the flesh for garnishing!
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Then, throw in the pomelo peel and pith, and let it simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. This strips the pectin off the pomelo peel, which will help thicken the marmalade. After 30 minutes, strain out any solids out of the water, then add the pomelo flesh to the water and let it simmer on low heat for about an hour, until it thickens and reduces to a bout a third of its initial volume.
Red bean cream: Whip up the cream until it reaches stiff peaks. Then add in red bean paste and give it a quick mix. Alternatively, you can save some of the red bean paste to put on as an extra layer on your meringue!
Assemble! Once your meringue has cooled down, dust it with some matcha powder. Then fill in the crater with the red bean cream and pomelo marmalade (plus the red bean paste if you saved some). Finally, garnish it with lotsa fresh pomelo flesh!