Sunday, October 31, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I was thinking that cauliflower soup (with crisp bacon bits sprinkled on top) would look stunning (and hopefully taste good too) in those red bowls, so when I snapped a photo, I thought it would be fun to play around with it in Picnik.com. This is the result! An entirely imaginary menu.
In case you're interested, I purchased 4 each of
- red bowls
- water glasses with a beaded detail
- flowered placemats
- white plates
I also got 5 serviettes with a rick-rack border (in red, white, blue, green, and yellow), bird salt and pepper shakers, a green square ramekin (for butter), a white serving tray, and a glear glass water carafe with a bird embossed on it.
Can't wait to use them all!
Monday, July 12, 2010
My original plan was to do something fun (maybe even...creative??) with the shape of the Pavlova. My list of brilliant ideas went something like this:
Maybe a ballet tutu?
Or a ballet slipper? (both inspired by the original inspiration for the dessert)
What about a simple square? (inspired by my lack of inspiration)
The decision made, the die cast: the Pavlova (Pavlovas, actually) will be egg-shaped, with a lemon curd 'yolk' centre.
For all of you die-hard Pavlova-purists out there, I know a Pavlova should have fresh fruit on it. If it bothers you that much, copy the picture to your own computer and photoshop a strawberry or two onto it. I just wanted to have a little fun with it, you know?
One last challenge: now that school's out, I needed to find eaters for my dessert. Luckily, a former colleague agreed to 'take one for the team' (her words, not mine) and help out in that department. Thanks, Anny!
Therefore and heretofore, without further ado:
Mise en place for the Pavlova (recipe is found in the Have the Cake July Challenge)
Stiff. Very stiff.
Piping egg-shaped shapes
Mise en place for curd (recipe can be found in both Rose's Pie and Pastry Bible and in her new book, Heavenly Cakes)
Do you have any idea how hard it was not to slurp this stuff straight from the bowl?
The finished Pavlova egg
Recipe: Eggy Pavlova
For the Meringue (adapted from the Challenge recipe)
4 large egg whites
1 cup berry sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees Farenheit. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Trace egg shapes onto parchment paper (approximately 3"x2").
2) Beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Add sugar in small amounts, beating each addition until dissolved. Continue beating until egg whites hold very stiff peaks.
3) Sprinkle vinegar and cornstarch onto egg mixture and fold in.
4) Using spatula, fill decorating bag with mixture. Pipe shapes onto parchment paper. Build up the edges of the shape by piping overlaying 'rims' onto your shape. Finally, smooth the edges and tops a little with the back of a wet spoon. Space yours a little farther apart than I did...they will expand a titch in the oven.
5) Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn oven off and let meringue cool completely in oven.
For the Lemon Curd (adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible)
*Because meringue is quite sweet, I've reduced the sugar in this recipe, so be extra careful when heating the egg yolk mixture! I've also eliminated the lemon zest. Normally, I adore lemon zest, but egg yolks (or representations thereof) shouldn't have little strings in them.
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp lemon juice
1) In heavy saucepan, whisk yolks, sugar, and butter until well blended. Whisk in lemon juice and salt.
2) Cook over medium-low heat until thickened. Do NOT allow it to come to a boil or you'll have scrambled lemony eggs on your hands
3) Optional: strain the mixture to remove any lumpy bits.
4) Cool before using.
Spoon dollops of lemon curd into indentations of egg-shaped meringue bases. Garnish, if desired, with sliced strawberries, fresh whole blueberries, or sprigs of mint. Enjoy!
Notes for next time:
Allow the curd to cool completely before assembly.
Shape the meringue more precisely.
It really could use a fresh strawberry or two, if only for the pop of red. Oh, and the taste.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Having an oven that actually works and doesn't leak most of the heat it produces is suddenly transforming me into a marvelous baker! Plus, the light inside works, so I can check on things without opening the door. It's marvelous!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
- originally, there were many different desserts named Pavlova and/or created in the great Russian ballerina's honor. (Check her out on Youtube. She's stunning.)
- New Zealand and Australia like to squabble about the exact origin of the dessert. Since some definitions say that it should include kiwi in the fruit topping, it seems that NZ might be gaining the upper hand.
- It turns out that the base is NOT a straight meringue; there's cornstarch in there, which changes the texture.
I've got some ideas percolated in my little brain...nothing too outrageously creative, but I'm excited to try it out.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
When I come back, I've got a new cookbook: Rose's Heavenly Cakes! So expect some decent posting then...