Stone Fruit Pavlova

Stone Fruit Pavlova

These last two weeks have been unexpectedly carefree and relaxing. I took a day off from work for Eid ul Fitr and two of my classes got cancelled because people didn’t sign up soon enough. Of course, on the day of the class itself, we had about 3 or 4 phone calls from clients wanting to come to the cooking class that evening. Uhhh…I need time to shop, prep and plan! There’s a reason for a RSVP. Oh well, the no classes meant I had some free time I wasn’t expecting. 

My days off from menu planning and shopping aren’t any different from my regular days. I still plan menus and shop, but for the blog. Cooking for the blog is a lot more stress free and open to pretty much anything. Right now, I’m insane over all the fresh produce. 

Stone Fruit Pavlova

My mind goes into over drive when I’m at the farm stand or at the produce section of the grocery store. I search out Colorado grown produce as much as I can and we are very lucky to have many farms just within driving distance from us who supply their goods to Whole Foods and other grocery stores.

I often think that I may look a tad strange as I stand there amongst the produce aisles with my little pink notebook and pen and a faraway look in my eyes. I’m thinking, planning, imagining and tasting all in my head.

Stone Fruit Pavlova

How about y’all? Do you like to create, improvise or follow recipes? 

I’ve always had a problem following recipes as such. I think in my life, I’ve followed maybe a handful, and that was when I wasn’t a very good cook. These days, I skim a book or recipe and then completely change it. I think I enjoy coming up with my own flavour profiles these days. Maybe it’s because of the cooking events I do and the demos; I have to plan a menu that can showcase the many features of a brand and sometimes that means changing a recipe or method.

Stone Fruit Pavlova

Last night for dinner, I threw together an idea of something I had in my head. I had a pile of turnip greens and beet greens that were leftover when I roasted beets. I threw them on a sheet tray with some olive oil and baked them, some turned crispy, some were still soft but they had a lovely chewy texture to them. I had two little turnips so I sliced them up and threw them into a quick pickle. Sautéed some broccolini with roasted garlic, boiled some pasta, opened a tin of garbanzos and fried up some Halloumi cheese.

The garbanzo beans were mixed with the broccolini and then tossed with the pasta with a few generous glugs of olive oil. I topped the plates with some baked beet and turnip greens, fried cheese and turnip pickles…..oh my goodness…SO good.

Stone Fruit Pavlova

Coming up with dishes like this is what’s fun about summer and summer produce. I may not like the sun and the heat but I appreciate all that it produces, like this beautiful, stone fruit pavlova. 

Pavlovas are great to make because I always seem to have egg whites left over. Whip up a meringue shell and fill it with seasonal fruit. This is summer right here. I filled mine with Colorado apricots and peaches, and some blueberries and strawberries for some berry colour. Plums would be great in here too, or some cherries. I didn’t want to make a trip to the store so I used what I had in my fridge.

Stone Fruit Pavlova

Instead of filling it with cream, I filled the meringue shell with a great local, yoghurt we get here. In fact, I buy the milk from the dairy they use to make the yoghurt. I chose a cherry flavoured Noosa, and Noosa yoghurts are AMAZING. They are so creamy and dessert-like that you can definitely use them in place of cream in your desserts. I wanted the passion fruit flavour but they were out so I thought cherry would go well with the stone fruits. It did, it worked perfectly.

The stone fruit pavlova was pretty amazing too. We had no problem polishing if off.

Stone Fruit Pavlova

Stone Fruit Pavlova

Rating 

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: Serves 6

Ingredients
  • MERINGUE BASE
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¾ cup/150g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch/corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • FILLING and TOPPING
  • 1 or 2 apricots, sliced or halved
  • 1 or 2 peaches, sliced
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • or assorted berries,
  • plums,
  • cherries,
  • 8 oz/225g container of flavoured yoghurt
Instructions
  1. MERINGUE BASE
  2. Preheat the oven to 300℉/150℃
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 6"/15 cm circle on the underside.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  6. Add the sugar and beat until glossy and thick.
  7. Add the cornstarch and the vinegar and blend until just incorporated.
  8. Dollop the egg whites onto the parchment paper using the drawn circle as a guide.
  9. Make an indent in the middle to hold the filling.
  10. Turn down the oven to 250℉/120℃
  11. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  12. Turn off the oven and allow the shell to cool completely in the oven.
  13. Once cool, fill the meringue shell with the yoghurt or cream.
  14. Top with the sliced fruit, leaving some whole or halved for aesthetics.
Notes
There's no quantity for the fruit, use as much and what you like. Summer time, stone fruits are great to top the pavlova. I used one 8 oz container and it was enough for us and the small meringue shell. If you like more filling, feel free to use more yoghurt or cream.

Stone Fruit Pavlova

Sunday had three of us packing a picnic and heading up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a spot of hiking. It was quite hot in Denver so we relished the thought of the cooler temperatures at the higher altitudes. We headed off only to get stuck in some festival traffic that was moving at a snail’s pace right outside of Estes Park. We took a longer route around and still managed to make our picnic.

Bierstadt Lake

Bierstadt Lake

So, this hike…yeah….we wanted to try a new trail to discover some of the hidden lakes of the park and all went well and we made it to the lake. It’s a pretty lake, quiet and calm. We ate our picnic swatting bugs and watching a mama duck lead her duckies across the lake. The dragonflies were out skimming the foliage with their fast moving purple wings, they are so beautiful. The hike to the lake was about an hour, through mountain forests and some rocky terrain. On our hike back, we decided to hike over to another lake that was a mile out and then catch the shuttle back to our car from there. Yes, my husband the navigator turned us around and we walked, and walked and walked….close to 2 hours through some of the worst rocky terrain. I just wanted to cry. It was exhausting, and all the good exercise I had had earlier for my knees was now replaced by the worst pain imaginable.

RMNP

We made it back finally, but after taking a short cut where we saw the main road! After some leftovers for dinner, a hot shower and a much needed hydrocodone for me, I climbed into bed and was out!

RMNP

Monday was a little slow moving after the rough Sunday 🙂 How was your weekend? Any gruelling hikes for you guys?

Hope your week’s off to a good start! Have a great one!

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues

White Chocolate Mousse Meringuescc-7

I’m done with pumpkin, I’m pumpkined out (note: it only took 3 recipes to do that!!) I got on the bandwagon, I drove it for a while and now, I’m done. Did I change my opinion and become a pumpkin loving convert? Um…no. I don’t dislike it, but I just don’t love it like some people do.

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues-3

Now, once again, this is only the Jack O’Lantern/sugar pie pumpkins, I still enjoy butternut, acorn and other winter squash. But, I’m done with pumpkin; until next fall when I will give it another go. 

So, onto other delicious things that are available now; chocolate, for example. I find that I make very few chocolate desserts during summer. I think the delight of seeing so many fresh, summer berries and fruit just draws me to them and imagination runs wild. Come winter though, I really begin to crave chocolate. I’ve already made chocolate cake, brownies and cookies for us over the past few weeks, basically as soon as the weather turned cold and has remained cold, I’ve been cranking out chocolate confections. There is something instantly warming and comforting about gooey chocolate desserts whether they are served with ice cream or warm custard.

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues-8

This isn’t a warm chocolate dessert though but its incredibly good. Once again, it came about because I needed to use up egg whites that were left over from my pecan tart. I originally wanted to make macarons but was plain out of nut flour of any kind and making my own just seems too much work for that day!

Taking the easy way out and working with what was in my fridge that day, I decided to make these White Chocolate Mousse Meringues. Ok, so it’s not a true mousse but it sounded better than white chocolate cream, and as food bloggers we know that coming up with fancy names makes the dish even more delicious ;). These can be considered mini pavlovas, I suppose, since I did use a pavlova base. But, whatever you want to call them, all I know is that they are pretty darned good.

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues-4

They are also way easy to make and pretty stunning on a plate for a fancy dinner or even a buffet. They hold up remarkably well in the fridge for a few hours and so, can be made ahead. The topping I used is some very good quality French preserves. My thinking is that if you have some of your fruit preserved from the summer, you can whip it out now and enjoy it atop a creamy and crunchy base. The homemade preserves will add a personal and seasonal touch. I didn’t get to make much jam this year, except for a few jars of peach jam, so I used a four berry preserve (Dalfour). I wanted a more berry flavour, but you can use whatever jam you like.

If you are looking for inspiration, here are a few that my friends have made over the past few weeks: Bam’s Kitchen has this perfect quick and easy Bammer’s Jammers made with cranberries and strawberries which would be a perfect sweet tart addition to the sweet white chocolate mousse, The Bartolini Kitchens just posted a very seasonal Quince Jam, which many would use on savoury dishes, I think it would work nicely here too, and Sugar et al has a gorgeous Rhubarb, Orange, Ginger Jam  you can try, especially if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and your spring/summer fruits are coming in. 

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues-2

The meringues take a couple of hours at most to bake and the mousse takes only a few minutes, but it does have to chill. They can be assembled ahead and they will still be crispy when served.

I wanted the meringues to be a pink hue with the white cream but since I’ve stopped using food colouring, and I was all out of my natural colours, they’ve stayed a white with a cream hue. You can add a touch of colour for some festivity. I’m sure they’d look very pretty in pink and white.

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues-1

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues

Calories: 4038

Fat: 231g

crisp and crunchy meringues filled with a creamy white chocolate mousse and topped with berry fruit preserves.
Ingredients
  • 5 egg whites, organic
  • 1¼ cups/250g granulated cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar, organic
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, organic
  • 2 cups/475mL heavy whipping cream, organic
  • 6oz/170g white chocolate, good quality bar or chips
  • 6 tablespoons or more good quality preserves
Instructions
Meringues
  1. Preheat the oven to 300℉/150℃
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 6 4"(10cm) circles on the underside.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  5. Add the sugar and beat until glossy and thick.
  6. Add the cornstarch and the vinegar and blend until just incorporated.
  7. Dollop the egg whites onto the parchment paper using the drawn circles as a guide or can pipe the egg whites to make a basket/nest to hold the mousse.
  8. Turn down the oven to 250℉/120℃
  9. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  10. Turn off the oven and allow the shell to cool completely in the oven.
White Chocolate Mousse
  1. Take ⅔ cups/160mL of the heavy cream and melt it with the white chocolate in bowl over simmering water or in the microwave, at 30 second intervals.
  2. If using the microwave, after each 30 second interval, take out the bowl and stir to mix and melt the mixture together.
  3. It took 90 seconds for me, but your microwave might take more or less time, as microwaves are all different.
  4. One the mixture is melted and homogenous, let it sit on the counter for about 20-30 minutes until slightly thickened and cool.
  5. Meanwhile, whip the remaining 1⅓ cups/315mL of heavy cream to stiff peaks.
  6. Once the white chocolate mixture is cool, fold it into the whipped cream.
  7. Blend carefully but thoroughly and then chill for at least 2 hours before spooning into meringues.
  8. To serve, spoon about ¾ cup mousse into the middle of the cooled meringue shells and add a dollop of fruit preserve on top and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Notes
My meringues shells were a good size and if you prefer smaller ones, just pipe or dollop onto smaller circles. My husband was able to finish one off with no problem but my children and even I struggled to finish one. They were bigger than I anticipated. I thought that my white chocolate mousse was a bit sweet but the others didn't seem to have a problem. I would go easy on the fruit topping if you don't like yours too sweet. I haven't adjusted the recipe because my husband and children didn't find it sweet and so, maybe it's just me.

White Chocolate Mousse Meringues-6

I’ve been enjoying everyone’s Christmas cookie and biscuit posts thoroughly, who knew there were so many different types of cookies?! I don’t know how I am going to be able to try and bake them all. It will take me at least a year! 

Happy baking everyone! I hope everyone is keeping warm (at least in the Northern Hemi), we’ve had such frigid temperatures these last few days that I don’t even want to crawl out of bed let alone drive and run errands in below zero temperatures. I’m surviving on tea, coffee and my warm, fuzzy socks. Have a great weekend everyone!

Raspberry Poached Pear Pavlova

pavlova

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to visit Australia. Maybe it was from watching the famous Australian soap opera Neighbours as a teen and sympathising with all the teenage angst, or maybe it was the idea of a far away land. I was intrigued by the island, the natives and the vastness of the country and add to that The Sydney Opera House, The Great Barrier Reef and all the amazing coastal cities Australia has to offer, it is still very much on the top of my list. I am quite positive that these are the real reasons why I wanted to always visit Australia and not because I had a huge crush on an Australian stud. That crush went no where (though it’s a highly entertaining story if anybody wants to hear it) but thoughts of Australia have always lingered.

After I started this blog, I added even more reasons to want to visit Austraila; my amazing blogger friends. Most of the time, reading their blogs I am turned upside down and inside out; when it’s day here, it’s night there, we have summer when they are having winter. I have yet to get used to it!

pavlova

The friends I have made are an exceptional set of women. There is Jasmine from the blog, Absolutely Jas. I strongly believe that if we lived in the same city, we’d be best friends and hang out at various tea and coffee places. I find more and more, from reading her posts, how much we have in common; recently I discovered our mutual dislike of ricotta cheese (because of its graininess).

Then there is superwoman Charlie, from Hotly Spiced, we also have a lot in common, she has three children and I have four. We both have to deal with a high maintenance vegetarian and an energetic eight year old with many, many questions.

pavlova

Uru, from Go Bake Yourself is vibrant and vivacious, and though we are not any where close in age, she is the same age as my daughter and I can relate to a lot of what she goes through, not to mention she makes some fabulous treats and her posts are thoroughly entertaining.

Sonali from Sugar et al, is one of my newest and sweetest friends. We both have an Indian background and so, many things in common. Her brother lives in Denver so I hoping that she will visit him soon so we can meet! She has a beautiful blog with beautiful photos and show stopping, professional bakery type desserts.

pavlova

I have many wonderful blogger friends but today, in honour of this Pavlova, I wanted to recognise my Aussie friends. Check out my updated Blog Roll for my other favourite blogs, this is a list that’s a work in progress, and I try to keep it updated as I make new friends. If you are missing from the list, I just haven’t added you yet, I still love you though 🙂

So, by now you would’ve realised that a Pavlova is an Australian and New Zealand invention and staple. It was named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova when she visited the countries back in the 1920’s. It is considered mainly a summer time dessert often being served with fresh berries and cream.

meringue shell

I have to admit that making this Pavlova was really a matter of necessity. After I made the tiramisu for my daughter’s 16th birthday, I had 5 egg whites left after making the zabaglione. I hate wasting egg whites, and I was racking my brains as to what to do with them.

My mothers old cook books from England always included recipes for Pavlova. I remember as a child looking at the photos and being fascinated with this crispy, crackly shell filled with fruit. When I started cooking and baking, this was always on my to do list. Today, I can tick that off!

To make it autumn themed, I decided to use pears as my fruit. Unfortunately, poached pears look a bit pale and colourless on top of an already quite white meringue shell. I wanted to add some red colour and flavour without using wine (since we don’t drink). Raspberries are perfect for adding red colour and make a pretty good sauce too.

The meringue shell recipe is from Donna Hay and I just added my recipe for the poached pears on top with a raspberry sauce on the side.

pavlova

Raspberry Poached Pear Pavlova

Calories: 3504

Fat: 177g

A crisp meringue shell filled with whipped cream and topped with pears poached in raspberry syrup.
Ingredients
  • MERINGUE BASE
  • 150mL or 4 organic egg whites
  • 1 cup/220g organic superfine/caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch (corn flour) sifted
  • 2 teaspoons organic white vinegar
  • POACHED PEAR TOPPING
  • ⅚ pears, preferably Bosc, peeled, cored and halved
  • 10-12 oz/285g bag frozen raspberries
  • 4 cups/945mL water, may need more
  • ½ cup sugar, more if you want it sweeter
  • 1" piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 cups/470mL heavy cream, whipped until soft peaks form.
Instructions
  1. MERINGUE BASE
  2. Preheat the oven to 300℉/150℃
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 8"/20cm circle on the underside.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  6. Add the sugar and beat until glossy and thick.
  7. Add the cornstarch and the vinegar and blend until just incorporated.
  8. Dollop the egg whites onto the parchment paper using the drawn circle as a guide.
  9. Make an indent in the middle to hold the filling.
  10. Turn down the oven to 250℉/120℃
  11. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  12. Turn off the oven and allow the shell to cool completely in the oven.
  13. POACHED PEARS
  14. While the shell is baking, make the poached pears.
  15. Place the pears in a single layer in a large pan.
  16. Add the frozen raspberries, ginger, water and sugar.
  17. Mash the raspberries with the back of a spoon.
  18. Allow to simmer uncovered until the pears are tender and the water has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 30-40 minutes.
  19. You may need to add more water if the pears have not softened.
  20. Make sure the raspberries don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  21. Stir occasionally and turn the pears to get even colour.
  22. Once the pears are tender, remove them from the syrup.
  23. Strain the liquid to remove the seeds, ginger and pulp from the berries.
  24. Add the syrup back into the pan and reduce more if desired and then add the pears back into the sauce to keep from drying out.
  25. Once the shell is cool, and right before serving, fill the shell with the whipped cream.
  26. Remove the pears from the syrup draining the syrup, and arrange on top carefully.
  27. The shell will probably give and crack in areas but it should hold.
  28. Serve immediately with extra syrup on the side.
Notes
The best pears to use are the Bosc. I had to use Bartlett because I could not find any organic Bosc. To stop the Bartletts from falling apart, I took them out before they were completely tender. The Pavlova was still delicious but the pears were harder to cut. You can add more sugar if you want your syrup sweeter and you may need to top of with water if the simmering liquid evaporates before the pears are tender.

pavlova

The Raspberry Poached Pear Pavlova was a hit at home. The children and the husband all thoroughly enjoyed it. The textures; creaminess of the whipped cream and soft marshmallowy insides, and the crisp meringue shell along with the sweet tart flavours of the raspberry sauce, all blended beautifully together.

So, if you haven’t tried a Pavlova before or have been intimidated by it, don’t be, it’s fairly easy and incredibly delicious. It’s also an impressive dessert for a holiday table or a special occasion.

Hope your week is going well. I am at my usual frantic pace, dropping and picking up children and in between that finding time to cook, create, shop and write. I suppose it keeps me young….maybe.