Tag Archives: blueberries

Perfectly Easy Pavlova and a Blogiversary!

23 Jan

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How many of you sewers out there were thinking I had gotten my hands on a copy of Cake Pattern’s newest release, the Pavlova wrap top and skirt, before it officially hits the market?  Sorry, no such luck.  But I did make you this tasty edible version of the Australian dessert that starts with a light meringue shell, gets filled with airy, sweetened whipped cream, and then topped with your choice of seasonal fresh fruits.

It’s also a celebratory dessert to commemorate my 1 year blogging anniversary!  In one year’s time, I have written 45 posts, gathered 98 (wordpress + google reader) followers, received 176 comments, and gotten 8458 hits.  That’s not too bad!  I’ll be announcing a giveaway tomorrow in honor of the special event, so stay tuned!  But until then, feast your eyes on this lovely and refreshing dessert :)

 

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I even made some mini ones to share.  Do you think they look like funny little faces?  This recipe looks complicated but it is as simple as can be.  My sister first introduced me to it several years ago and we have been making it regularly since.  If you have a few basic ingredients and an electric mixer, you can wow your friends and loved ones with this sure-to-please confection.

I have used strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries here because they happened to come in my produce box for the week, but you can use your favorite complimenting fruits — peaches, nectarines, raspberries, blackberries, etc.

 

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So, first you are going to beat your room temperature egg whites until they are stiff and glossy like so.  Can you see my reflection in these?

 

 

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The bottom row has been smoothed.

 

 

If you choose to make the cupcakes, one batch makes about 2 dozen regular size cupcakes.  This time around I just used a spoon to fill the paper cups then smoothed the tops with a wet metal tablespoon (this is a great kitchen trick for meringue).  If I am being fancy, I will use my piping tools to make mini meringue nests on parchment and forego the cupcake papers and tin.

 

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For the large pie, trace a 9″ circle onto parchment paper, flip the paper over and place it on a baking tray, then spread the meringue on top.  Use the spoon to spread it into the circle and smooth the top with the wet spoon.

 

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I spooned the whipped cream on top for the full-size Pavlova, but for the mini ones I piped the whipped cream on with a pastry bag and large closed star tip.  As for the fruit, you can make it as decorative (or not) as you would like.  It will taste great either way!

 

Pavlova

Serves 8 as pie or 24 cupcakes (you can’t eat just 1!)

1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature (from about 4 eggs)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 kiwi fruits, peeled and thinly sliced or 1 cup of another ripe fruit, such as peaches or nectarines
10 strawberries, green parts trimmed off, thinly sliced or other berries, such as raspberries or blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a clean, dry bowl until foamy. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff, smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes more. On a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a sheet pan, use a pencil to draw or trace a circle 9-inches in diameter. Line the sheet pan with the parchment, pencil side down (you should still be able to see the circle). Spoon the egg whites into the circle, using the back of the spoon to smooth the top and sides of the disk (use a wet spoon for best results). Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until the meringue has puffed up and cracked on the top and the surface is lightly browned to the color of cafe au lait, about 45 minutes more. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open, and let the Pavlova cool in the oven at least 30 minutes, to room temperature. This ensures a gradual cooling, which protects the delicate meringue.

Whip the cream and brown sugar together until stiff. Spoon it in the center of the cooled Pavlova and spread out to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Arrange the slices of kiwi around the edge. Arrange the slices of strawberry in the middle. To serve, slice into wedges with a serrated knife.

 

Recipe by Gale Gand, courtesy of the Food Network.

 

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Spinach Salad Blues

31 May

I’m sorry this photo doesn’t do the salad justice. There were 3 starving women at my house for girls’ night and they were about to attack when I decided to stop and take pictures of our food.

Is anyone else excited that blueberries are coming into season? This salad is one of my favorite ways to use the fresh berries and everyone I introduce to it always raves. If you know me and you glance at the ingredient list, you may be surprised that I like this salad. I am a devoted, card-carrying blue cheese hater. I have tried for years to like the pungent stuff but it just isn’t happening. If I unknowingly order something laced with it, not only can I taste it right away, but I will give my food away to keep from having to eat it. Being hungry is better than eating blue cheese :)

I’m telling you all that to encourage any other like-minded blue cheese nay-sayers to give this salad a chance. There is something about the combination of the flavors in the vinaigrette, nuts, and greens that melds with the blue cheese and makes it way less offensive. I would dare say not even offensive at all. Actually, this salad is quite delicious and is a regular on our table. So if you are thinking about subbing out the blue cheese with something else, try it at least once as written. You won’t be disappointed.

This recipe comes from the out-of-print Bay Tables: Savor the Abundance by the Junior League of Mobile. If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, you will love it. I haven’t been disappointed yet and I will try to share some of my other favorites as I make them.

Spinach Salad Blues
Yield: 6 servings

1 shallot, peeled
1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 bunches spinach leaves, trimmed and washed
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Combine the shallot, 1/2 pint of blueberries, salt, sugar, vinegar, and oil in a blender and blend well. Combine the spinach, remaining berries, blue cheese, and pecans in a large salad bowl and toss to mix well. Add the desired amount of blueberry vinaigrette (you will probably have more than enough) just before serving and toss until well coated.

I couldn’t resist — I was having fun with some new features on my photo editing software. And this is a glimpse of the new blender I got recently.

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