One if by Land, Two if by Sea, NYC
A nod to his homeland of Australia, James Beard House–featured chef Craig Hopson created a pavlova fit for discriminating palates from Sydney to St. Louis. The tender yet crisp meringue gives way to a rich blend of bananas and cream.
- 6 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 3 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground to a powder, plus additional for dusting
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 overripe bananas (must be very soft, the peel should be almost black)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Sliced fresh banana, optional
- Candied citrus zest, optional
Preheat the oven to 240ºF.
Prepare at least four 2-inch to 3-inch ring molds by lining the inside with parchment paper, allowing about 1/2-inch of the paper to hang over the top of the mold.
In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt. Gradually add in the sugar. When the whites are firm, add the vanilla extract and the vinegar and combine. Add 3 tablespoons of the fennel and the cornstarch and combine. Transfer the mixture to a large piping bag or a one-gallon ziplock bag, snipping off one corner. Pipe into the ring molds, then dust the tops with the remaining ground fennel.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the meringues feel dry and hollow when lightly tapped. Place on their sides to cool so that the bottoms of the pavlovas will dry. Remove molds.
In the meantime, make the filling. Place the heavy cream, bananas, and sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip until stiff.
To serve, fill the hollow inside of each pavlova with the banana mixture and place on each plate.
Decorate with sliced fresh bananas and candied citrus zest, if desired.