Tag-Archive for ◊ berries ◊

06 Sep 2013 Pavlova

pavlova1

In England, Australia, New Zealand and my house Pavlova is  a very popular dessert.  I am not sure why it’s not only not popular in the US but it’s not even well known.  Pavlova is a  quick, light, inexpensive, impressive, and utterly delicious dessert.  Pavlova is usually served during summer months since fresh berries are an important component.

Legend has it that Pavlova was named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova sometime in the 1920’s. But there the agreement ends. There is a huge and controversial issue around the country of origin of this dessert.  Both Australia and  New Zealand claim it.  Pavlova is a popular dish and important part of the national cuisine of both countries–as it is England (but England doesn’t claim to be a country of origin). Ok, ok! I can hear you all hollering but, what IS  “Pavlova”?

Pavlova is a meringue dessert with a crisp outer shell and a soft, light, fluffy center.  The meringue crust is  topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries–and kiwi– to serve.

I make two versions of this dessert.  Version #1, and the most traditional is below.  In Version #2, I mix a little lemon curd into the whipped cream, and I use blueberries instead of the more traditional raspberries and strawberries.  Trader Joe’s carries a very good and inexpensive lemon curd.  If you have a lemon tree, you can make your own lemon curd in the microwave with my recipe.

Pavlova doesn’t keep!  Don’t assemble the Pavlova until JUST before serving, and don’t expect to enjoy they leftovers (they’ll be soggy).  Make sure this is eaten all up all at once.  The good news is that the meringue base can be made ahead and stored for a few days in an airtight container before assembling and serving, which makes this a great showstopping dessert to make for guests.

High humidity might negatively affect this dessert. It’s best not to attempt to make this on a humid, wet, rainy day.

Pavlova

  •  4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
  • fresh raspberries, strawberries, kiwi or combination (see above for a blueberry version)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide.  Turn the paper over so the drawn circle is on the reverse side of the paper. (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
  3. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. (Be SURE the bowl and beaters are very, very, very clean–with not one bit of oil, butter or fat residue.)
  4. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar, in slow steady stream or 1 T. at a time and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  5. Mix vanilla, cornstarch and vinegar together then fold that mixture lightly into the egg white mixture using a very clean rubber spatula (there should be no oil, fat, butter, residue on the spatula).
  6. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Then, make a crater or a bowl in the middle of the flat meringue pile. (So the meringue looks like a rimmed soup bowl or large saucer.  This “crater” will hold the whipped cream and fruit at serving time.
  7. Bake at 200 degrees for  1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, at least 1 hour, overnight is better. (The meringue will deflate if exposed to cold air before it’s cool).  Store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Do not refrigerate.
  8. Place meringue disk onto a serving plate and JUST BEFORE SERVING spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Spoon the berries and the traditional Kiwi, if you can get it, carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ – 1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don’t overbeat!  If using a Kitchen Aid, make 1 ½ or 2 cups cream, any less and the whisk won’t get it all up from the bottom.

You’ll love it!  Practice this once for the family, and then WOW your guests with it the next time!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

31 Jul 2013 Blueberry Heaven

 

Do you ever go into a bakery?  Of COURSE you do!  Do you ever buy a pastry that looks delicious, but then are seriously disappointed in the taste…? And then, to top it off, are you overwhelmed by the amount of  fat you’ve just consumed for something that really wasn’t that all that great?  Me, too 🙁 Do you ever wish, on a weekend morning with your second cup of coffee, for that imagined deliciousness, without all greasy pastry and sugary icing?  Me, too 🙂 Pssssst…  Come here! No, come closer! I am going to tell you how to make a breakfast pastry as delicious as the one you are dreaming of…, and without the load upon load of grease and sugar!

Now. Seriously…, am I your best friend, or what?!

It’s so simple!  You need 2 slices of bread, a bit of cream cheese, and a handful of blueberries. It helps if you have a sandwich maker or a panini press, but if you don’t, use a frying pan and make this Blueberry Heaven just like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

I found the original recipe here: http://www.fitfromconception.com/2012/06/blueberry-breakfast-grilled-cheese.html  No, I am not pregnant, roflmao.  Neither are any of my children.  I have no idea how I ended up at that website, but I am glad I did.

Blueberry Heaven

[a Stand-in for Fat and Sugar Laden Blueberry Pastries]

For each serving:

  • 2 slices of bread, any kind.  Make it whole wheat if that’s the way you roll.  I use Orrowheat Country Buttermilk Bread.  Cinnamon bread would probably be delicious, as would almost any kind of homemade bread (don’t use homemade rye bread or anything like that!).
  • Plain cream cheese, enough to spread on two slices of bread.
  • a sprinkling of sugar, less than 1/4 tsp, optional
  • a handful of fresh blueberries, about 24 (jam can be substituted)
  • Butter, optional, unless you are using a frying pan

 

  1. Preheat sandwich maker, panini press, or frying pan.
  2. Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese, no measurements here, just coat the slices of bread to your preference. (If you are using a frying pan, spread the other side of the bread with butter)
  3. Sprinkle a bit, and I do mean a bit, less than 1/4 tsp of sugar over the cream cheese, just to sweeten up the cream cheese a little bit. (I’ve made this without the sugar, and it’s just not the same.)
  4. Arrange blueberries on one slice of the cream cheese covered bread.  Use as many as you want, but I think 24 is about perfect.  I like to evenly space the blueberries on the bread so I get an equal number of  blueberries in every bite.
  5. Put the other slice of cream cheese covered bread onto of the blueberries, cream cheese to cream cheese.
  6. Put the sandwich in the press, latch close, and cook for 2 minutes. (If using a frying pan, put the sandwich, butter side down on the preheated frying pan.  When the first side is golden brown, flip, and cook the second side until it is golden brown too.)
  7. Remove sandwich from the press or the pan and let cool a bit, the filing will be mad hot right out of the press. Be careful.
  8. Enjoy! It’s a little slice of heaven, isn’t it?
  9. Repeat.  You’ll want to make one for someone else… 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to drive over to the Olde Time Bakery for a pastry that will only make you feel badly about yourself? Hooray!!

01 Jun 2013 Lemon Ice Cream

lemon ice cream closer

Bet you’ve never had Lemon Ice Cream!  Not lemon sorbet, or lemon sherbet, or lemon granita  or lemon frozen yogurt,  but lemon ice cream–creamy, rich, sweet, intense  lemon ice cream. Intrigued?  Tempted? I hope so, because I have a simple, oh-so-good recipe for you.  You do have an ice cream maker, right?  I use a “frozen bowl” ice cream maker, which seem to be everywhere for $40-$50 now, but sometimes you can get lucky.  This weekend my friend Sharon bought one at a garage sale for $5, and I saw one at  Savers for $12.99.

Homemade ice cream is very, very rich, and Lemon Ice Cream is no exception.  Serve small scoops (with an option for seconds, of course).  This recipe makes a quart of ice cream, richer and more filling than even the most premium commercial ice creams.  One quart of this ice cream will serve as many people as a half gallon of that store bought stuff.

I like to serve this ice cream on fruit pie, crisps and cobblers. My friend Sharon, whom I mentioned above, bought her ice cream maker after I fed her berry crisp with a scoop of this lemon ice cream.  This ice cream is also fantastic as a filling for an ice-cream sandwich.  To make a truly gourmet ice cream sandwich place a small scoop of Lemon Ice Cream between two ginger cookies, squish the sandwich a bit, square the filling up a bit, maybe roll the sides in a bit of chopped chocolate-milk, semi-sweet or white, then put the little bites of heaven in the freezer to firm up.   My pregnant daughter likes to eat  Lemon Ice Cream “as is” straight from a glass bowl with a long spoon.  She downed the sample above in one breath (at 9 o’clock in the morning one week before her due date!).

This recipe was first published in Gourmet magazine in 1999.  I’ve been making it since May 25, 2003.  Yes, I marked the date on my copy of the recipe, with this note, “Delicious and simple!”  “Simple” was written in caps and underlined twice!

Lemon Ice Cream

1 large lemon (zest plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup cold milk (I usually only have 2% at home, so that’s what I use)

1 cup well chilled heavy cream

 

With a vegetable peeler or microplane remove the zest from the lemon, do NOT include any of that bitter white pith in with the zest.  Put the sugar and the lemon peel in a food processor or blender and whirl until the sugar is finely ground and the lemon zest has been incorporated into the sugar. Add in the milk and the cream (On occasion, I have used 2 cups half-and-half instead of the milk and cream mixture).  Blend just to combine.  Stir in 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Process in ice cream maker for about 20 minutes.  Place soft ice cream in a freezer safe bowl, and set in freezer to harden up a bit (a few hours).  Ice Cream will keep at least a week, if not more, in the freezer but I doubt you will have to test the outer limits.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Looks like the next few days are going to be scorchers.  Stay cool. Squeeze lemons. Make ice cream. By the way, I think the picture above is one of the best so far for this blog.  My webmaster, Ratty, fixed it up real nice, didn’t she?

08 Jun 2012 Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Spiced Maple Syrup

Love blueberries! Love cornmeal! So when I saw this recipe (having bought blueberries just yesterday and forgetting why), I jumped up from my chair (well…, not exactly “jumped”) to make an impromptu special breakfast since it was my son’s one day off this week. And he was HOME. And he was UP!  What an opportunity!!  I saw this recipe on Pinterest,  pinned from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures and she got it from Fine Cooking.  Fine Cooking has published the recipe in their “Big Buy Cookbook“.  Long pedigree, I know, and it’s a keeper.

This recipe makes a lot of batter.  I am not even half way through it and I’m full, my son is full, my grandson is full, my daughter is full, and my daughter’s guest and her two kids are full!  Make ’em and freeze ’em, I say! Or mix up the dry ingredients, divide into three parts, and make one part now with 1 egg and 1/3 of the rest of the liquid ingredients.  Save the rest of the dry ingredients in an airtight container until needed. If you don’t have buttermilk substitute milk stirred with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes, or use buttermilk powder (add the powder into the flour then add an amount of milk or water equal to that of the buttermilk in with the liquid ingredients.  If you do use buttermilk, and you have some leftover, remember that you can freeze buttermilk so you have some on hand next time.

Tracy didn’t make the Spiced Maple Butter,  I don’t know why, but I quite enjoyed it!  If you make it, taste it.  As written, the butter is very, very lightly spiced. Not a tinge of heat.  Next time I would up the spices a bit, maybe using 1/2  teaspoon chili powder ( or 1/4 tsp cayenne).  I can’t believe I am saying this!  My taste buds must be changing.  I really am (or used to be, I guess) a pepper wimp.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

  • 1 3/4 cups (7 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour (I used 3/4 cup of white whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all-purpose)
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I was tempted to add more, I like sweet, but I am glad I didn’t)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used about 1/4 cup more, I like a thinner batter)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (all out!  How can I be out of oil?  Substituted melted butter)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (was tempted to add some grated lemon zest, too)
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
  1. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and gently whisk just until combined.  The batter should be a bit lumpy.
  2. Heat the frying pan, reduce the heat to medium, and then add 1 teaspoon of oil or butter.  Once the oil/butter is hot, use paper towels to wipe the pan so only a thin, even coating of oil covers the bottom and sides.
  3. Use a 1/3-1/2  cup measure to portion the batter into the hot pan.
  4. Sprinkle some blueberries over the surface of the pancake (do this evenly so every bite has at least one blueberry!).
  5. Cook on the first side until the edges are set and the bottom browned, about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook on the second side until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 more minutes.  If not serving immediately, transfer the cooked pancakes to a wire rack in a preheated 200 degree oven.
  6. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.
  7. Makes about 15 pancakes 1/3 cup pancakes.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and/or more blueberries or this fabulous topping…

Lightly Spiced  Maple Syrup

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup/1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Stir the chili powder and cinnamon into the butter.  Add the maple syrup and heat in microwave until you have a beautiful, pourable syrup.  Pour a little over your pancake. YUM.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen this morning 🙂  I hope I got this recipe to you in time for weekend pancakes!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

17 Aug 2011 Overnight Blueberry French Toast

My elder daughter, Hannah, found blueberries on sale at Safeway this week: four pounds for five dollars! After she posted the “find” on her facebook page I had to go out and get some… But WHAT am I going to do with four pounds of blueberries?!? Hannah made a Fresh Blueberry Pie  (one of our family’s favorites),  and I decided to try this recipe for Blueberry French Toast since it’s been in  my “To Try” file for ages.

I fell in love with overnight casseroles a few years ago.  I probably have overnight guests more than most, so I have quite an array of breakfast recipes, but I’ve gotten lazy.  Although I am usually up earlier than my guests, I’d just rather not rush to pull a breakfast together. I like to get up, make myself a latte, and enjoy some peace and quiet with the newspaper and the Internet –while in my jammies– before facing a busy day ahead.  Overnight casseroles are one of my secret weapons to maintaining my slow-and-easy morning routines, yet still provide a nice breakfast for my guests.

This breakfast casserole is really more of a cross between a bread pudding and french toast.  It’s not very sweet,  so you can douse it with powdered sugar or maple syrup. But with only two eggs, it’s not very egg-y or french toast-y.   And in spite of all that cream cheese, it’s not very cream cheese-y, either!  It is nice though; warm, full of juicy blueberries with just a hint of cream cheese and a hint of egg.  A side of bacon or sausage could be a nice salty, crispy counterpoint.  I think it’s best with enjoyed with some newly awakened house guests, a second latte, and a fun chat about the plans for the day.

Blueberry French Toast

  • 1 lb. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (original recipe called for 1 teaspoon, but that seemed a bit too much for me)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 10 slices of good quality french bread, sliced about 3/4 inch thick, if possible
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • Maple syrup or powdered sugar, to serve

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.

With an electric mixer beat cream cheese sugar and vanilla together until smooth.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Slowly beat in the milk.

Cut the slices of french bread into cubes and spread evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the cubed bread.

Pour the cheese-milk-egg mixture on top of the bread and the blueberries.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove casserole from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown (perhaps 5 minutes longer if casserole was still cold from the refrigerator when it went into the oven).

Serve with maple syrup and/or powdered sugar.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  If you still have blueberries leftover, be sure to make some Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins , which are one of  my top three favorite muffin recipes. Ohhh, and I’ll have to post the recipe for a Blueberry-Lemon Pavlova, too…!

23 Nov 2010 Cranberry-Blueberry Pie

Looking for a last minute new pie for Thanksgiving?  Here it is, Cranberry-Blueberry Pie. I served it to my Dining For Women group last night–with a scoop of Cinnamon Ice Cream.   There were some Mmmms, some moans and some requests for the recipe.  I’d say that the Cranberry-Blueberry Pie passed the taste test with flying colors!

This recipe is based on one from Epicurious.com.  I read all the comments posted about the recipe and realized I was going to have to change their recipe a bit.  In my recipe the blueberries are cooked only once, not twice.  I also added two chopped Golden Delicious apples to the filling so it had less of a jam consistency/taste and more of a really yummy fruit pie consistency and taste. There’s more spice, more sugar, some freshly squeezed orange juice and grated orange peel in my recipe, too.  I think my version would win the  pie throw down!!

Cranberry Blueberry Pie

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, no need to thaw)
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • finely grated peel of 1 orange
  • 2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled and chopped
  • 16 ounces frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • double recipe of pie pastry (or two Pillsbury pie crusts…)
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Combine cranberries, sugar, spices, salt and orange juice in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until cranberries pop and then thicken, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Boil 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove mixture from heat. Stir in orange peel, chopped apple, and blueberries.  Set mixture aside to cool.  (Can be made up to 3 days ahead.  Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.)

Preheat oven to 400º.

Line a 9 inch pie pan with pastry.  Spoon filling into lined pie pan.  Cover filling with another pie crust. Trim and decorate.  Brush crust with about 1 tablespoon whipping cream and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sugar.

Bake in preheated 400º oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool pie on rack.  Let pie stand at room temperature until ready to serve.

Have a great Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!