One of my favorite scenes in the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally is when Meg Ryan’s character Sally has the following exchange with a waitress:
Sally: I’d like the chef salad please with oil and vinegar on the side and the apple pie a la mode.
Waitress: Chef and apple a la mode.
Sally: But I’d like the pie heated, and I don’t want the ice cream on top. I want it on the side and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream, but only if it’s real. If it’s out of the can, then nothing.
Waitress: Not even the pie?
Sally: No, just the pie, but then not heated.
I laugh (my bf laughs harder) because it hits close to home. As a chef, I know how personal food can be, and admittedly, I have been known to be...particular. In my younger days, even more so.
As a child, soft and crunchy were too different to coexist. Foods were either soft and tender or crunchy and crisp, and never the twain shall meet. My desserts of choice had to be velvety smooth; any crispy, fruity, or even sprinkles decorated on top ruined it for me. Don’t get me started on my dislike of sweet on savory/meat.
Gradually my taste palette evolved and I became a true texture-convert due to my love for pavlova. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this personal game-changer is a meringue-based dessert with a soft marshmallow center and crisp outer shell. The contrasting textures are brilliant—it’s a little crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. By the second day it loses its crispness and becomes a decadent truffle-like brownie, but still pillowy light. The recipe is adapted entirely from Smitten Kitchen. She lowered the sugar and upped the chocolate and it’s just perfect. I didn’t change a thing.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 10