I always, ALWAYS, make a Traditional Christmas Pudding for dessert on Christmas day. My eldest son and my youngest sister wait patiently all year for a piece of my pudding, hot from the steamer loaded with fruit and spices and smothered in homemade custard. I couldn't stand their disappointment if I didn't come through with the Christmas-pudding-goods. But I always, ALWAYS, make an alternative dessert on Christmas Day. The rest of my BIG family understand that we actually live in a sun-burnt country where the sun shines through the festive season. Where, instead of huddling around an open fire after Christmas lunch, we all put on our swimmers and jump in the ocean or the pool. Where, instead of watching the snow fall, we play backyard cricket. Where, instead of eating hot winter pudding, we eat ice cream for dessert... well, apart from Linus and Liza. We put them down one end of the table to eat their dessert and call it the northern hemisphere.
Frozen Passionfruit Pavlova
slightly adapted from the food dept.
For the Meringues:
4 egg whites
pinch fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Passionfruit Curd:
Makes 1 1/4 cups
The pulp from 6 passionfruit
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
For the Semifreddo:
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup caster sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
600ml whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks and chilled
6 large meringues (recipe below)
1 1/4 cups passionfruit curd (recipe below)
Make the Meringues:
Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat until glossy. Add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and beat in low until just combined. Dollop six large mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven with the door ajar.
Put the passionfruit pulp, eggs and sugar into a saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk continuously until thickened. Remove from the heat and add the diced butter immediately. Whisk until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool. Chill in the refrigerator.
Make the Semifreddo:
Make the Semifreddo:
Put a small amount of ice water in a large bowl.
Put the vanilla seeds, egg yolks, and sugar in a heat-proof bowl and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer for 5 minutes, until fluffy and the custard holds a ribbon when the it falls back into the bowl when you lift the beaters.
Remove from the heat and place the bottom of the bowl into the bowl of ice water and continue to beat with a hand-held whisk until the custard is cold.
Fold in the mascarpone and the whipped cream.
Crumble 3 meringues into the custard and fold gently.
Pour 1/3 of the cream meringue into a 2.5 litre ring pan. Dollop large spoonfuls of the passionfruit curd over the cream meringue. Spoon some fresh passionfruit pulp and crumble a meringue over. Repeat twice more with the remaining cream meringue, passionfruit curd, passionfruit pulp and meringues creating three rough layers.
Use a skewer to gently run through the whole lot creating a ripple effect. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Unmold the semifreddo by dipping the pan into water for a few seconds.