Here’s a thing that no one tells you about summers in your midtwenties/summers when you’re an actual working adult: they are so busy! I actually spent four weekends away from home at the beginning of this summer. The Accountant hasn’t been home in over five weeks at this point.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s almost August and I don’t really understand how that happened because yesterday it was May I swear.
If you can’t tell, I’m kind of flying by the seat of my pants right now. You know what helps me feel in control and capable?
July has been insane, both personally and professionally. I’ve been working like crazy and traveling like crazy and sometimes that makes it very hard to feel like you have your stuff together, you know? Because what day is it actually and when was the last time I went to the grocery store and have I checked the mail recently and I don’t even remember if I got gas like I needed to yesterday and what is even happening anymore.
So I’ve been trying to focus on small things that make me feel like a functional human.
Like: clean towels and clean sheets. This does wonders. Hanging up fluffy warm towels makes me feel like such a capable adult.
Somewhat related: making my bed. The rest of my room might be a disaster, but my bed is made and I somehow feel 10000% more put together.
Or also: cleaning the stove top. This seems to have the same effect on the kitchen as making my bed has on the bedroom. It’s magic.
And, as I discovered as I made this pavlova for my sister’s birthday recently: making meringue. It’s actually such a simple recipe but can go so wrong in so many ways. So, when it goes right, it feels SO GOOD. Meringues might just become my new calming ritual, y’all.
Peach and Pistachio Pavlova
Makes one 10-inch pavlova
5 large egg whites
3/4 cup superfine sugar (you can just pulse regular granulated sugar in a food processor for 15 seconds)
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp lemon juice
5 ripe, but firm peaches
50 ml honey
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 pistachios, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 295°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Trace a 10 inch circle (use a cake pan as a template) on the parchment to serve as your guide for later.
- In a very clean metal bowl, whip your egg whites until stiff peaks form. Like for real, you want to make sure that those egg whites stand up on their own before you do anything else. Once you see stiff peaks, add the superfine sugar 1 tbsp at a time as you continue to whip the egg whites. Mix thoroughly after every addition. After all of the superfine sugar has been added, the mixture should be looking pretty shiny and awesome. YOU’VE MADE MERINGUE! YOU’RE AWESOME!
- Now, add your brown sugar in the same way, continuously mixing as you go. After all of the brown sugar is added, whip the mixture for another 1-2 minutes. The mixture should be very thick and holding stiff at this point.
- Now add your corn starch and lemon juice and mix well until the meringue is smooth and shiny.
- With a large metal spoon, scoop the meringue onto your parchment template. You want to leave a bit of a dip in the middle so you have a convenient place to put your topping. But don’t overwork the meringue. Scoop it down and leave it slightly disheveled. It looks cooler that way, I promise.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 270°. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The outside of the pavlova should feel hardened and crisp.
- While your pavlova is baking, make the topping. Slice your peaches off the pit into thick slices. You can peel them if you want, but I didn’t (because peeling peaches is a PAIN).
- Heat honey over medium high heat until saucy. Add peaches and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. You want the peaches to soften a bit, but don’t want them to turn to total mush. Take off the heat and allow to cool completely.
- Add cream and vanilla to a medium size bowl. Whip until stiff peaks begin to form.
- Once your pavlova is finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. This could take a few hours. Some recipes even suggest allowing the pavlova to cool overnight. So… let it cool is the lesson here.
- Once completely cool and ready to serve, it’s time to assemble! Start by piling your whipped cream into the center of the pavlova. Then, top with peaches. End by sprinkling chopped pistachios. Voila! You fancy!
Recipe adapted from BBC
(As a side note, I cut back the sugar content in this quite a bit. As in, I almost halved it. So, if you’re really into really sweet desserts, you can double the brown sugar and honey and the ratios should still work just fine.)
For real, though, I texted Hannah immediately after I finished whipping my egg whites into marshmallow fluff asking if there was anything more satisfying than making a successful meringue. We agreed that no, there certainly is not.
Go forth and make meringue like a BOSS! Bake with love!