Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hannah's Perfect Pavlova

In my last post I mentioned that I'd been at a Scottish Country Dance camp recently. I met tons of fabulous people. One of these fabulous people is Hannah. In my schedule booklet there were a couple pages at the end to write notes - ostensibly dance notes. But what did I write on them? Recipes of course! Recipes I stole from Hannah ;D

If you've been to your farmer's market recently then you know that it's currant season. I adore red currants. I used to buy them from the produce vendor on the street in St. Andrews. Amidst the rain and dark clouds, a handful of little bright red berries really picked up my day. So I couldn't resist buying an entire case of red currants (and a little basket of white) at last Saturday's market.

But even after making 5 jars of jelly, there were still lots and lots of currants left. I also have some mascarpone waiting to be used for something exciting, so Hannah's pavlova is perfect. She auctioned one at camp for, I can't remember how much, but at least $150. I had told her that I struggle with baked meringues, but I have to say, no problems at all with her recipe.
Hannah with her pavlova at Pinewoods '09
(pic yoinked from Meyer, it was the only one I could find!)

Perfect Pavlova

5 egg whites
pinch salt
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 1/4 c granulated sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 225 F
Beat the egg whites, add the salt and cream of tartar when the whites start to get foamy. Continue beating to soft peaks. While still beating, slowly add the sugar. Continue beating until firm.
Pipe the meringue onto parchment/silpat mat. Bake for one hour or until just browned. Turn off the oven, and leave in with the oven door closed for two hours.

Mascarpone Cream Filling
1 pint whipping cream
8 oz mascarpone cream cheese, room temp

Beat the cream and mascarpone together until thick. Spoon into the hollow of the pavlova. Top with berries.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Strawberry Mousse Cups and Pinewoods '09

It's hot hot hot, and while chocolate always sounds good in theory, a fruit dessert was really the best option. A nice light happy dessert to finish our discussion of the dark and depressing Wuthering Heights ;)

Ok, not exactly food related, but I just got back from the Scottish sessions of Pinewoods Dance Camp, and I'm sad it's over :(

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Key Lime White Chocolate Pots de Creme and Elderflower Cupcakes

I keep reading that if you keep whipping your Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC), it will work. Just keep whipping, just keep whipping (a la Dorrie from Finding Nemo). Ok, ok. So I tried again, and after what seems like too much beating (regular buttercream can get over whipped), it finally looked right. The flavor still throws me off a teeny little bit, because it tastes so strongly of the butter, but I can get over that. The texture is so amazing, I could overlook anything else.
But now I have an IMBC with nothing to put it on, and lots of leftover egg yolks. I had a request for cupcakes, and I've been wanting to make pots de creme, so why not do both. Happy Fourth of July!

Key Lime White Chocolate Pots de Creme

10 oz white chocolate
1/2 c whole milk
1 c heavy cream
6 egg yolks
2 T granulated sugar
3 tsp key lime juice

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. While melting, combine the whole milk and cream in a pot, and heat until just before boiling. Whisk the yolks and sugar until light in color; add the melted white chocolate (it will act like it is seizing, but just keeping stirring, it will be ok). Slowly pour in the heated cream while whisking. Return the mixture to the stove, and continue cooking over medium heat until it coats the back of your spoon, stirring the whole time. Add the key lime juice. Strain the mixture into cups (to remove any bits of cooked egg). Let set up in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.

Italian Meringue Buttercream
2 egg whites
3 oz granulated sugar
2 T water
2 (more) T granulated sugar
6 oz unsalted butter, room temp

Bring 3 oz sugar and the water to 245 F in a pot. Meanwhile, start whipping the egg whites. After they are foaming, slowly add the 2 T sugar. Whip to firm peaks. When the sugar reaches 245 F, slowly pour it into the meringue, while still beating. Continue beating until cool, about 10 min. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating, at least 5 min. It will "curdle" at first, but just keep going! Add flavoring (I added 2 T elderflower syrup.) Can be frozen and used later (it thaws beautifully).