One of the first priorities after I moved to LA was to get all the equipment and ingredients for a making a pavlova. I brought with me my kitchen scales, some measuring spoons, baking trays and a spatula. High on the list of new items to purchase was a good quality hand-mixer, something better than my overheating, screaming one at home. One of my favourite stores in the US, Bed, Bath & Beyond, stocks a 9 speed KitchenAid electric beater with four different attachments. I was attracted to both the brand name and the sparkly mocha colour, so one of those babies came home with me after shopping for essentials like pillows and coathangers.
I realised last night that the glass mixing bowl we got as part of a Pyrex set at Walmart was too small for making a double mixture pavlova, so after picking up yet another desk for the office this morning, J and I stopped by Kmart, which Karen-the-GPS pronounces kuh-mart. Kmart USA is not as good as Kmart Australia, and I could only find a relatively shallow 3.8L glass mixing bowl, which I mumbled something about how it would do the job for now. I also picked up a sieve to sift the cornflour.
I had looked around Ralph’s supermarket for all the ingredients and was again surprised at the lack of options and their not-quite-the-sameness to Australia:
- Caster sugar (called Superfine Baking Sugar here) only had one option which came in a 1.89L milk carton
- Cornflour is called cornstarch here
- Whipping cream comes in milk cartons and when whipped still manages to have somewhat of a foam cream from a can texture and taste
- Vanilla extract here is far more thick and syrupy than our vanilla essence
Thanks to the ConvertPad app on my phone, I found out that the equivalent temperature for cooking my pavlova was 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
So with all this brought, bought and figured out, I set up the beaters with the whisk attachment and started the process. I was down to the last bit of sugar to mix in and dissolve when I had a phone call, so I put down the beaters for awhile. When I got back to the kitchen, my previously perky pavlova peaks had morphed into a flat, runny mixture. I tried to beat some life back into it, but it just wasn’t quite the usual consistency, so I spooned it onto the baking tray and hoped for the best.
After adding the cream and then decorating with strawberries, kiwi and a few blueberries, it was ready for enjoyment and compliment. Both of which were heaped on and thrown about in generous sizes.
To my discerning pavlova palate, there were a few things I need to try and fix. I think the marshmallowy bit was a bit eggy and the cream not quite dense enough. But they were only small observations (made by me) and give me something to work on as I set out to become the Pavlova Queen of LA.