As I mentioned earlier, I went to see Swan Lake on Friday evening and was distracted by thoughts of fluffy meringues as I watched the graceful “swans” flitting about on the stage in their meringue-y white costumes. I felt inspired to whip up some sort of fluffy creation at home. After giving it a bit of thought, I realized that I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate than mini-pavlovas. After all, they are named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Apparently, I’m not the only one who ponders meringue while sitting at the ballet.
I made individual sized pavlovas, and since I have four pavlovas, I get to come up with four different ways to top them! Fun! The recipe for the pavlovas is naturally weight watcher friendly, so there was not even any tweaking required. Pavlovas are typically topped with fresh berries or some other fresh fruit and perhaps a bit of whipped cream. You could obviously “spend” as many or as few points on the toppings as you would like.
Last night’s choice of toppings was based on what I had on hand. I’m still feeling under the weather, and the weather is still freezing. That means that I’m averse to going outside unless it is absolutely necessary. Ideally, I would have liked blueberries and strawberries on top, but I ate all my blueberries with my yogurt last week. Among the choices in the kitchen, fresh pineapple seemed like the best idea. I did toss a bit of berry jam on top just for a little berry hit. There is also a layer of fat free cool whip on there but you could obviously whip up some fabulously flavored cream of your own or leave it off altogether. You can top these however you want. Seriously. Trust me when I tell you, ahem, that the pavlova tastes pretty good naked too. Oh, and… did someone say… Nutella?
The recipe is a classic and is pretty basic. My version is based on a variety of sources. The one I found most useful, however, was this one at Dog Hill Kitchen.
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar (processed in the food processor to make the sugar finer, but not a powder)
1/2 tsp. vinegar (I used white balsamic fig vinegar)
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Beat egg whites in mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.
Add sugar to egg whites one Tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
Continue beating until you can’t detect sugar crystals when you check it with your fingers.
Spoon meringue mixture into four mounds on a parchment covered baking sheet, placing a small depression in the middle of each mound.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn oven off, crack door open and allow pavlovas to cool until they can be handled.
Fill them with your choice of toppings. I filled last night’s pavlova with pineapple, berry jam and fat free Cool Whip. It was a lovely and light combination.
Unused pavlovas can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of days, but should be kept out of humid areas.
Each unfilled pavlova is 2 unofficial weight watcher points. The total for the dessert will depend on your choice of toppings.
Here are a few photos I snapped during the process including a before and after. As you see, the pavlovas are white when they go into the oven, but they turn a lovely creamy color as they cook.
I can’t even begin to tell you how these hit the spot! The pineapple turned out to be a great choice as the fruit was fresh and flavorful, and the pavlova was delightfully crispy yet chewy in the center. AAaaaaahhhh. I can’t wait until I have another one this evening! I’m positive that I’m going to be making these quite often now that I know just how easy they are to make.
In other news, I’m so excited that Beadie has asked me to host this week’s BSI contest!! One of the best things about my blogging experience so far has been meeting so many new people who are passionate about healthy eating, and hearing about the wonderful things they cook in their kitchens. Sarah’s winning Kale Crust Pizza,from last week’s BSI: Kale, is a recipe I’m going to have to try! What a clever use of the BSI!
I can’t wait to see what y’all come up with using the ingredient I’ve selected as the blogger’s secret ingredient for this week’s contest. Are you ready? This week is the week of……… BSI: Black Beans!
They are humble and inexpensive nutritional powerhouses, and, as I find myself eating less and less meat these days, I’ve started incorporating beans into more and more of my recipes. I particularly love the look and flavor of black beans so they were an easy choice for this week’s ingredient. If you are interested in knowing more about black beans, please click on this link to see the information provided on the “World’s Healthiest Food’s” site. Here are a few little facts from their entry about black beans:
- They are commonly referred to as turtle beans, probably in reference to their shiny, dark, shell-like appearance.
- Research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry indicates that black beans are as rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins as grapes and cranberries, fruits long considered antioxidant superstars.
- These smoky flavored beans are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fat found in these foods.
- Black beans are a good source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses.
Molybdenum… yum! I think the part about the antioxidants is especially cool! Aside from the fact that they are all yummy, what do black beans, grapes and cranberries have in common? Now you know the answer!
There are two ways to enter this week’s BSI contest.
- E-mail a photo of your entry and your original recipe using black beans to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or
- Post the recipe on your blog and e-mail me the link.
I’m looking forward to reading about your creative uses of this common little bean! The deadline to enter is midnight on Sunday evening, March 1st. You could be the first BSI winner in the month of March! This week’s BSI contest winner will receive a batch of my molasses crinkle cookies, a selection of my favorite teas and probably a couple of other goodies as well!
I will be updating this blog post with links as I receive entries, so please check back often to see what people have been cooking up. I can’t wait to see everyone’s yummy dishes!!
This Week’s Entries:
Maggie at Dog Hill Kitchen: Black Bean “Tacos” with Smoked Paprika Shiitake Mushrooms
Erin at Life is Yumbo: Black Bean and Oat Burgers
Jessica at Johnstone’s Vin Blanc: Black Bean Brownies
Brandi at Bran Appétit: Cuban Pork & POM Black Beans
Mara at What’s For Dinner: Latin-Inspired Black Bean Chicken
Spiceaholic at One Bite at a Time: Spiced Black Bean and Potato Cakes
Hallie at Healthy Twists: Fish Tacos with Black-Bean Salsa
Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point: Black Bean Quiche
Ruth at Plentiful Plants: Black Bean Pasta
Sarah at Tales of Expansion: Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Black Bean Salmon-Patties
Beadie at What I Ate Yesterday: BBQ Black Bean Quesadillas
Emily at Super Caloric Chalk Dust: Stuffed Peppers
Becca at Bites of the Day: Black Bean Flatbread
THE WINNER!! Becca at Bites of the Day: Black Bean and Avocado Cornmeal Muffins
Sophia at Burp and Slurp: Black Bean and Pumpkin Pancakes with Coconut
Sophia at Burp and Slurp: Black Bean-Brownie Spread
Sophia at Burp and Slurp: Spicy Black Bean and Pumpkin Pancakes
Biz at Biggest Diabetic Loser: Chipotle Pepper Black Bean Potato Salad
Christina at Dinner at Christina’s: Rice and Beans