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Posts Tagged ‘meringue’

by Caitlin Saniga

What’s your favorite part of lemon meringue pie? Mine’s the meringue. And that’s basically what pavlova is: a big pile of meringue (topped with fruit). Fun fact: This dessert is big in Australia and New Zealand and is said to have been named after famous Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova during one of her tours through the region.

  • 5 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup sliced, pitted cherries
  • basil or mint for garnish, if desired

This was one of my first attempts at pavlova. I didn’t beat the egg whites nearly long enough, so my mound was fairly flat. When the pavlova baked, some bubbled over the edge of the pan. Don’t make my mistake! Beat the egg whites until they’re almost hard. When you “spread” the mixture on the baking sheet, it should be kind of difficult because the egg whites are almost solid. This will ensure that the mound remains standing through the bake time. Also! Notice the magnets holding down the edges of the parchment paper. I found this trick handy! But don’t forget to remove the magnets before baking.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Trace a 7- or 8-inch circle on parchment paper and line a baking sheet. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites in a standing mixer (with a whisk attachment if you have one) until foamy and thick, about 3 minutes. Pour in half of the caster sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture forms firm peaks, another 2 or 3 minutes on high.

Using an offset spatula, spread the meringue on the parchment, using the circle as a guide, to create a uniform mound.

This is what the pavlova looks like after a night of sitting in the oven. The top gets all crackled and crispy. It’s the best! Also, a note about caster sugar: It’s a super-fine sugar that dissolves quickly in liquids. If you can’t find any at the store, make your own by running white sugar through the food processor.

Using a fine-mesh strainer or sifter, shake powdered sugar over the meringue.

Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for another 35 minutes, until slightly golden, and turn off the oven, leaving the meringue to dry out overnight. Do not open the oven door! Use the oven light to check on things instead.

Serve the next day with the strawberries and cherries, and garnish with basil or mint. You should be able to slice the pavlova with a flat-edge knife. Store leftovers at room temperature, loosely covered with parchment paper for up to 1 week.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Urban Pantry

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by Sarah Steimer

Feb. 1 is Baked Alaska Day! I learned from an America's Test Kitchen infographic* that the cake originated in New York's famed Delmonic's restaurant to celebrate the purchase of Alaska.

I made this cake over a period of two days – packing and freezing the ice cream, along with baking the cake base. I also only made a small version of the original recipe. The bowl I used holds three cups.

For the ice cream dome

  • 1 carton of neapolitan ice cream
  • cooking spray

Spray the inside of the bowl and place plastic wrap on the inside. Allow the ice cream to soften a little. Start with one flavor, making sure not to scoop out any of the others.

Coat the inside of the bowl with one flavor, being sure to work up the sides and maintaining the same thickness. Let freeze for at least an hour. Layer the next ice cream flavor inside the first. Freeze again for at least an hour. Fill the remaining space with the last ice cream flavor and freeze for a few more hours or overnight.

For the cake

  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (use the double boiler method)
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • pinch of salt

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and egg yolks in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale yellow and thick for about 15 minutes – if you’re using a hand mixer and not a standing mixer, this absolutely will not happen so just go for as long as you can or until the texture is right.

Pre-meringued.

Add the vanilla and fold in chocolate, mixing just enough to combine. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the egg whites and salt and whip with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and whip until stiff. Add the chocolate and egg yolk mixture to this egg white mixture.

Carefully pour this mixture into a prepared 8-inch cake round – which was either sprayed with cooking oil or coated with butter and flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cake is set and top is dull. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set the cooled cake on the sheet. Flip the ice cream half-sphere on top of the cake – you may need to borrow an extra set of hands or loosen the ice cream by running a warm cloth over the bowl. Cut the excess cake away from the ice cream sphere and remove the plastic wrap. Place back in the freezer for about an hour.

For the meringue

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites, sugar and tartar in a heatproof bowl. Place this bowl over a small pot of simmering water on the stove (double-boiler system). Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch – about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers.

Remove from the heat and continue whipping with an electric mixer, starting on a low speed and gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined.

Remove the cake from the freezer. Either pipe the meringue onto the cake with a star-shaped tip, working from the bottom-up, or spoon over the cake and swirl with a spatula. If the cake begins to melt, pop the cake in the freezer. Either way, put the cake back in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Once the oven is ready, bake the cake for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tips are lightly brown. If you have a mini kitchen torch, use that to brown the edges instead.

I wish I could have played around with shooting this longer! But when you're working with ice cream on a randomly warm (55 degree) day in Chicago, you do what you can.

Serves about 6 – depending on slice sizes.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

*Cakes Throughout U.S. History – America’s Test Kitchen infographic

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