I became a gelato maker gradually. Gelato has always been a part of our family life, from eating it at backyard dinners in the summer, to spending time in Vincenzo with my Nonna and Nonno, who took us to one of the local gelataria. Gelato was always there. It just took me a while to notice it properly.
This week’s recipe is an Australian Christmas classic – the pavlova. My mum has always made great pavlova. The meringue recipe here is hers – it’s brittle on the outside and nice and chewy inside. It’s the cornflour that brings the chewiness. I think the mint gelato goes really well with the passionfruit flavours here.
Ingredients (SERVES 6)
300 ml pouring cream
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
600g fresh mint gelato (available from Pidapipò)
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
340g caster sugar
4 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 egg yolks
220g caster sugar
125ml passionfruit pulp
150g unsalted butter cubed
4 gelatine leaves OR 6g gelatine powder
150ml filtered water
55g caster sugar
250ml passionfruit pulp, strained
Preheat oven to 135°C (275°F/gas). Line baking tray with baking paper.
For the meringue, add the egg whites and salt to the clean bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment added. On a medium speed, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Continuing to whisk, add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, then add the cornflour, white vinegar and vanilla paste and whisk for 15 minutes to form soft peaks.
Spoon six equal-sized dollops of meringue out onto the prepared baking tray, leaving 2cm between them each to allow them to expand, and making an indentation in the middle of each with a teaspoon. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool completely in the oven before removing. Set aside.
To make the passionfruit curd, add the eggs, egg yolks, caster sugar and passionfruit pulp to a heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. Set the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and gradually add the butter, whisking continuously, until all the butter has melted and been incorporated and the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove the bowl from the heat and pour the curd into a container, then cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to cool.
For the passionfruit jelly, place the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of ice-cold water and leave them to soften. Place the water and sugar in a small heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove for the heat and transfer to a bowl with the passionfruit pulp. Squeeze the softened gelatine leaves of excess water, add them to the passionfruit mixture and whisk to combine. (If the gelatine hasn’t dissolved fully, return the mixture to the pan and heat gently, whisking until it has.) Pour the mixture into a small tray, transfer to the fridge and leave for about 2 hours, or until set.
Whip the cream in a bowl using a hand whisk or electric whisk until soft peaks form. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
To assemble the dessert, divide the meringues among plates. Dollop over the whipped cream, spoon over the passionfruit curd and top with small teaspoons of the jelly, then sprinkle over the desiccated coconut before finishing with a scoop of mint gelato.