“When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.”
I set out the other day to the St. Lawrence Market to find something I have never tasted before. There are so many wonderful things to try, taste, and smell and you can’t help to get excited when you walk in the doors. There are so many unique cheeses, preserves, meats, dishes, and knick-knacks I didn’t know where to start.
Dessert is my passion, so it was automatic for me to head straight to the many produce markets the market has to offer, in search of something I can bake with. I found two fruits that really intrigued me. Passion fruit, and golden-berries. I had seen and heard of passion fruit before but I had never tasted it or worked with it. Golden berries were a big question mark for me. The shop owner said that they were local, and they looked interesting to me so I went for it!
Check out the St.Lawrence Market’s website here to see all new and up and coming fun events that they hold there!
Fresh Ontario Golden Berries
These Ontario-grown, freshly harvested beauties caught my eye immediately. When I initially saw the golden berries (other names: ground cherries, husk berries, inca berries, Cape gooseberries) I thought that they would be a very sour fruit. By their size and colour, I was so used to having small firm fruits of the orange-yellow colour to make my lips pucker. As I bit into it I was quite surprised. It was juicy and sweet, with a slight acidic note to it. If I were to compare it to another fruit, I would say it has a similar texture and flavour to a papaya, with the softness of the flesh and the sweetness, mixed with a grape for the shape, skin of the fruit and the acidity.
The Golden berries look quite different to other fruits. The golden berries are part of the nightshade family which means that each berry grows encased in an individual papery husk. Inside of the husk is a small, brightly coloured orange berry.
I researched golden berries to try and find more information about them. It turns out that they are high in fiber, they are a great source of vitamin A, and also contain carotenoids and polyphenols, which are antioxidants. And last but not least, these little orange fruits are full of immune boosting vitamin C.
Passion fruit is one of the fruits I have been dying to try. I always see contestants on cooking shows utilizing it in so many ways, in jellies, curds, purees, and it always seems to compliment so many flavours so well. As soon as I saw one, I had to pick one up at the St. Lawrence market!
When you first cut into the passion fruit, you cut through a dark purple rind that is tough with a smooth and waxy finish. Within the rind, you will find aromatic, yellow pulp with small black seeds. You do not eat the rind, you eat the pulp. I would compare the taste to if you were to mix grapefruit, tangerine, starfruit and a pomegranate. It is tart, tangy and has a very bright flavour. It has the kind of tanginess that leaves your tongue tingling- it really wakes up your mouth!
The uniqueness of this fruit is all in it’s physical characteristics. If you have never had passion fruit, or seen it being used, it is not obvious how you are supposed to eat it. I cannot think of another fruit that you cut through such a thick rind and you reveal a tart, liquidy pulp with small black seeds that you eat.
After tasting each of these new fruits, I looked at the five basic tastes and tried to develop a recipe that would round out the rest of the flavours. Studying at George Brown College, even though it/s only been 7 weeks, I have learned many things about balancing flavours. When I decided to make this pavlova, I needed to make sure that I balanced each of the 5 flavours and senses. I started with the meringue base. When it is baked, it has a crunchy outside and has a soft, marshmallow-y center. I made a lemon curd to sit on top, which added a beautiful, smooth, subtly sour flavour. Next, I whipped up some heavy cream with a dash of pure vanilla extract. This added a sweet, perfumed aroma with a slightly smoky flavour to the dish.
I topped the cream with the pulp from the passion fruit, and the golden berries that I just cut in half. These two fruits compliment each other so well, with the balance of sweet and sourness. I topped it off with a fresh raspberry and added a dusting of icing sugar for presentation.
Overall, this dessert turned out really great. It hit all of the flavour elements that I believe a dessert should have. It was balanced, not overly sweet, and had depth in flavour. I learned a lot about my own palette during the creation of this dessert. I realize that I appreciate desserts that aren’t too sweet, and that leave you feeling like you’ve eaten the last course of a meal, rather than just a bowl of sugar.
I love pavlova, it is such a lovely dessert from a textural point of view, taste and presentation. The fruit of the dish is the focal point which is why I thought it was a great idea to try something new.
In desserts, my #1 thing is texture. I always look for variances and things that change up each bite. Smooth on smooth is such an non-enjoyable texture combo and really takes the level of the dessert down a notch. What do you look for in a dessert? What is a make or break factor for you? Comment down below and let me know!
Get the Recipe Here:
Golden Berry & Passion Fruit Pavlova
For the Meringue:
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature (see Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) cream of tartar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2/3 cup (150 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
For the Lemon Curd:
- 3 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Juice and zest lemons.
For the Vanilla Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Passion Fruit
- 1 handful of Golden Berries
- Any other fruit you would like to top your pavlova with, this part is totally up for your own interpretation.
- Spoon of icing sugar for dusting
For The Meringue:
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a tall, metal bowl that is completely free from oil or egg yolks, whisk together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt.
- With a hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- With the mixer still running, slowly add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. If you feel the meringue between your fingers, it should be smooth. If you still feel the sugar granules, keep beating on medium speed until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Add the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla to the egg whites, and whisk to incorporate.
- I piped my meringue mixture into small nests with a large star tip, but you can also spoon about 1/2 cup of the egg white mixture for each pavlova. Make the nests into about 5-10 cm wide, with higher sides, and a slight hollow in the middle. There should have enough for 6 mini pavlovas.
- Bake the pavlovas in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they are very light tan in colour, and the meringue seems set.
- Open the oven door an inch, and allow the pavlova to cool completely while still in the oven.
For the Curd:
- Separate yolks, and place whole eggs and yolks into a bowl.
- Using a mixer of your choice, beat sugar and butter till fluffy (2-3 minutes).
Add eggs (slowly) and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Mix in lemon juice until combined.
- Pour into heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over low heat until mixture is smooth.
- At this point increase heat to medium and cook until thickened (about 15 minutes). DO NOT boil, and stir constantly while cooking.
- Once you can leave a path along the back of the spoon, the mixture is done.Remove from heat and stir in zest.
- Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Be sure the wrap is touching the surface of the curd to avoid “skinning” while cooling. When cool, place in a sealed container until ready to use.
- It will keep for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. You can also freeze for later use.
For the Whipped Cream:
- Combine all ingredients.
- Beat until the cream holds soft peaks.
Put It all together:
- Slice open the passion fruit and scoop out the pulp. If you don’t want the seeds, you can press the pulp through a strainer and just use the juice.
- Cut each golden berry in half, or quarters if they are large.
- Once all of the components are prepared, put each pavlova together.
- First take a meringue, and place a spoonful of lemon curd on top. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Add the fruit and dust with icing sugar.