Tag-Archive for ◊ raspberries ◊

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!

07 Sep 2010 Mixed Berry Pie

Been to the Farmers’ Markets this weekend? Did you buy a bunch of berries? Time for a Mixed Berry Pie! It is still cool enough that it’s OK to turn on the oven making it the perfect time to make this delicious pie. The orange peel sets this pie above all other berry pies, and the cornstarch-flour thickening is perfect. The pie is great served slightly warm for dinner, with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or a bit of whipped cream on the side and absolutely divine room temperature, with a cup of hot coffee on the side, for breakfast.

I haven’t mastered pie crust yet, so use your favorite recipe, or that Pillsbury unroll and bake stuff (like I did) which will enable you to get this pie in the oven in 20 minutes or less. Ready, set, goooooo! You’re going to knock the socks off your dinner guests!

Mixed Berry Pie

1 double crust pastry
1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. flour
grated zest of 1 medium orange
pinch of salt
6 c. mixed fresh berries*
1 T. cream or milk
pinch of sugar

Prepare pastry. Roll out half the pastry and line the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Refrigerate the lined pie plate and the leftover pastry while you mix up the berries. In a large bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, flour, orange zest and salt. Add berries and toss gently to coat each berry. Pile berry mixture into pasty lined pie plate. Roll out second half of pastry. Cut slits in pastry. Lay pastry over berries and tuck into bottom pastry. Decoratively crimp and trim the top and bottom crust to seal together. Brush top pastry with a bit of cream or milk. Sprinkle with a pinch of white sugar. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pie on a baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake 50-60 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling. Cool completely on rack before serving (juices need to cool to thicken).

*recipe originally came with these proportions: 2 cups blueberries, 2 cups blackberries, 1 cup fresh raspberries, 1 cup quartered fresh strawberries. I wouldn’t use any more strawberries than 1 cup (they don’t hold up well) but the rest of the proportions are mix-and-matchable. Do what I do, buy one or two baskets of everything at the farmer’s market and what makes it home gets put in the pie. If you are a bit short of the required six cups of berries, peel and chop an apple or pear to add into the mixture.

I made the berry pie at the top and my friend Louise made the beautiful berry pie below.  Both of us believe that Mixed Berry Pie is most people’s favorite pie, if it’s not, it’s because they have never tasted this one!

Thanks for stopping by our kitchens today, see you tomorrow!  What shall we make…??

03 Jun 2010 Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

I’m pretty sure I was one of the first people ever to taste a smoothie. There was a smoothie man on campus at San Diego State University in 1976. He had a blender, fresh pineapple, fresh bananas, and a bunch of fruit juices. Every smoothie consisted of a large slice of fresh pineapple, half a banana, ice, and juice. The juice determined the flavor of the smoothie. They smelled divine, tasted divine and the memories lasted…

I’ve been making smoothies at home for a long, long time. Probably since 1977. I have spent 33 years perfecting this recipe…, it’s GREAT, better than the smoothie man’s, and it’s simple. Even I have this one memorized: 3 cups of frozen fruit, 2 cups of juice, and 1 cup of yogurt with an optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam. (I use honey or jam only if the yogurt is plain and the fruit tart–usually the sweetening is not needed.) The recipe makes 4 cups of smoothie goodness. Enough for a 2, 3, or 4 people for breakfast. Just making one for yourself? Get out the blender (you don’t even have to measure)… Pour in one to one-and-a-half cups of frozen fruit, 3/4 to 1 cup of juice, and a small container of yogurt. Whirl on high for about a minute. Done. What a way to start a summer day!!!

I like using the frozen fruit because then there’s no need to use ice–which dilutes the intensity and the goodness of the smoothie. Now don’t be using packaged frozen fruit this time of year. I know you want to buy all those fresh berries from the market. Go ahead! Freeze the leftovers. When the strawberries get a bit past their prime…, rinse, pull the stem off, freeze. Same with peaches nectarines, apricots, plums, and bananas. No need to peel them. Just wash, slice, and bag. Leftover fresh pineapple? mango? Slice, freeze, and bag along with some blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. (OK…,it’s best to ‘open freeze’ the fruit first. Place the sliced fruit on a tray, freeze as is, then remove to a Ziploc bag. If you freeze wet fruit it tends to freeze into a solid ball. Starting out the morning with a cleaver and a ball of frozen fruit can be frustrating…). By the end of the summer you will have a wide variety of frozen fresh fruit for your smoothies and think how great you’ll feel having had a few healthy servings of fruit each day for breakfast.

I made our first smoothies of the season yesterday. Frozen strawberries (all the frozen fruit we had, usually I have more of a variety), orange-mango juice, plain yogurt, and a squirt of honey.One for me, one for my nineteen year old son and his friend, and one for my eighteen month old grandson. My son, texting away, drank a third of his and said, “Can you make more of these?” I said, “Sure. Are you that hungry”. He said, “Yeah, I’ll have another one…, but my friends are driving by and they want to stop by and have one. I told them how good they were.”!

Tonight for dinner my grandson and I had smoothies made out of frozen strawberries and raspberries, orange juice, and blueberry yogurt. Delicious (even though the picture is one of the worst pictures I’ve ever posted). My son’s favorite is frozen peaches, peach yogurt, and any kind of juice. I like to jazz his up with some frozen raspberries or raspberry yogurt. My daughter likes a citrus smoothie–frozen pineapple, sometimes with some mango and banana, lemon or plain yogurt and grapefruit juice, orange juice, or lemonade. I like frozen raspberries and blueberries, plain or berry yogurt, and any kind of juice…, but orange-passion fruit is to die for…

Let me know your favorite flavor combination! Enjoy!

Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

3 cups of frozen fruit
2 cups of fruit juice (start with orange…then experiment)
1 cup of yogurt (any kind)
optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam

Put frozen fruit in blender. Cover with juice. Add in yogurt. Blend until thick and frosty. Add in a squirt of honey or jam, if desired. Whirl again to blend. Makes four cups of smoothie goodness. Pour into 2, 3, or 4 glasses. Add a straw…, and maybe a squirt of whipped cream. Serve. YUM!