Posts Tagged With: whipped cream

Three-layer Peach, Raspberry and Brown Sugar Pavlova

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One would have no idea summer is winding down here in D.C.  The heat and humidity loping through the campus turn us all lethargic and in need of a dunk in the ocean.  Alas, schoolwork and projects beckon, and rather than exercise my need for R&R, I’ve settled on food as an escape.

Not entirely surprising, is it ?

In any case, PEACHES have been my ambroisia of oubli, and with a weekly farmer’s market, they aren’t difficult to procure.  Most recently, I re-made Nora Ephron’s Peach Pie (click the link for the recipe), and it disappeared in a day.  This is the problem with having roommates: as the cook, you want to share !  But BAMPOOFPOW – it’s all gone !  It’s definitely “bittersweet,” shall we say.  In any case, before I left my little town, I attended our local peach festival (yes, we have one of those) with a friend of mine.  While picking peaches, I declared that I would make SOMETHING with these gems that wasn’t a peach pie.  This mixed fruit pavlova is the “fruit” of said declaration.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert that is very light and fruity.  Because it’s all egg whites, there is no added fat (eg butter/oil), so if you are “reducin’,” as my grandmother would say, it’s a nice choice for dessert.  Each pancake of meringue sits on a bed of whipped cream (you don’t need this part if you’re not partial to chantilly) and cut fruit (such as mixed berries, peaches, nectarines, plums, etc).  Rather like a trifle, this dessert needs to be eaten the night you prepare it, or else it will get soggy.  It’s an excuse to devour an entire treat in one sitting…right ?  And it’s covered in fruit !  Fruit is healthy !

Grab some peaches before the season really ends and whip up (literally) this lesser-known dessert as one final tribute to the groove of summer.

For the meringue :

Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp distillled white vinegar
3/4 cups egg whites (5 to 6 large eggs)

Directions :  Preheat the oven to 275F with rack placed in the middle of the oven.  Line three 8” round cake pans with parchment paper, dusting the sides with confectioners’ sugar.

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Pulse the sugar, brown sugar, and constarch in a food processor until well combined.  You can also whisk these ingredients together if you, like me, are often sans fancy kitchen appliances.

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Stir together the vanilla and white vinegar.  Don’t smell it…you won’t be pleased.

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Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer (or your brute strength, however you like) until they hold soft peaks.  Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar mixture 1 tbsp at a time.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect tbsp – think of that measurement as a speedbump – as you just don’t want to add the sugar too quickly.

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After all the sugar has been incorporated, beat for 1 minute more.  Add the vinegar mixxture, then beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stuff peaks: about five minutes.  Spoon meringue into pans and smooth the tops.  I used a pastry bag, but this is not at all necessary (unless you feel like a perfectionist).

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Bake the meringues until they have a crisp crust and feel dry to the touch – about 1 hour.  Meringues may sink while cooling – but have no fear !  It just means more space for berries and cream !

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Turn oven off, prop door open with a wooden spoon (or ruler tool), and cool the meringues for 1 hour in the oven.  You want to keep them in a dry environment so that they don’t go all soggy…and the oven is the closest thing to the desert one has in a kitchen….except maybe for the brisker, but everyone knows briskers often carry a strange scent after re-crisping one too many boxes of crackers.

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Run a knife around the edges of the cake pans and remove gently.  MERINGUES ARE FRAGILE.  BE CAREFUL.  (But not too careful…because who doesn’t love to mop up the crumbs ?)

For the fruit topping :

2 white peaches
2 golden peaches
1-2 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries (if desired)
A little liqueur – I like “peche” but cassis, chambord/framboise or a blueberry syrup would be delicious as well.  Do not add sugar to the berries if you use a “berry” sweet liqueur (Brian, that one is for you).

This part is really quite simple:  Peel the peaches (if desired) and cut them into sections.

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You don’t need to cut them into smaller chunks, but I did simply because it makes the fruit more uniform.  Place into a bowl and add the raspberries and blueberries.  Give it a quick stir and drizzle some liqueur over the top, if desired.

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For the whipped cream:

1 1/3 cups heavy cream
Sugar (just a tablespoon or two will do)
Vanilla – a dash

Whisk until thick, creamy, billowy, delicious, and…well…whipped !  I used an electric mixer and added the sugar just as the cream began to thicken.

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Assembly :

Start by placing one layer of meringue on your cake plate.  Place it flat side down – this will ensure overall stability of the pavlova palace you are about to craft.

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On top of this, spread a nice layer of whipped cream.  Top with berries (I forgot this step !)

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Place the next layer of meringue on top and follow the same pattern : whipped cream followed by fruit.

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Serve very soon after preparation as those meringues won’t last long surrounded by fruits.  It may not be the most elegant dessert, but it is marvelously tasty.

Bon appétit ! 🙂
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Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

La mousse au chocolat

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Quest-que-c’est? C’est du chocolat? C’est de la mousse? Non – c’est de la mousse au chocolat! Et c’est déliceux! C’est comme un nuage de Dieu. C’est assez simple, et si nous pouvons le faire, vous le pouvez aussi.  L’arôme chouette va remplir votre cuisiner et à la fin vous aurez un saladier rempli de dessert incroyable.

Les ingredients:

6 jaunes d’oeuf
6 blancs d’oeuf
6 tbsp de beurre
12 tbsp de sucre
1 1/2 tasses de crème à fouetter
12 oz de chocolat noir
1 1/2 tsp de vanille

Les étapes :

Etape 1:  Dans un casserole, mettez le chocolat noir et le beurre. Faites fondre le chocolat et le beurre au feu doux.

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Etape 2:  Fouettez les jaunes d’oeufs et 6 tbsp de sucre dans un saladier. Utilisez un fouet pour tout incorporer. La couleur devrait être d’un jaune clair.

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Etape 3:  Avec un fouet (ou un batteur électrique), battez la crème pour faire de chantilly.  Laissez la crème fouettée à côté.

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Etape 4: Dans un autre saladier, battez les blancs d’oeuf en neige. Félicitations as Cassandre d’avoir BEAUCOUP BEAUCOUP fouetté 6 blancs d’oeufs – c’est fatiguant !

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Etape 5: Versez le chocolat dans le saladier avec les jaunes d’oeufs et le sucre.  Remuez bien cette combinaison.  Avec une spatule, ajoutez les blancs d’oeuf en neige et remuez bien. Attention de ne pas trop mélanger !  Pour finir, ajoutez doucement la chantilly.

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Etape 6: Mettez la mousse dans le réfrigérateur pendant une heure avant de la manger.  Bon appétit ! 🙂

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Categories: Français | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mousse au Frangelico

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I was sitting in the kitchen, contemplating the world (as usual) and of course, attempting to make une décision très importante:  what to have for dessert. Crise existentielle de la journée, as one might say.  Alone, with a kitchen just begging to be used, and a sibling returning soon home from her long day over at the Eric Carle Museum…I felt the pressure.  What to do, what to do.

Hm.  I didn’t have any chocolate chips.
Nor enough oatmeal to make oatmeal scotchies.
Not in the mood for pie.

I could make brownies.  But I don’t want those either.

Then I started thinking…what about mousse ?  It was a beautiful day, mousse doesn’t sound hard, and it’s definitely soemthing new. With a bit of luck, sibling called, saying she would happily pick up some ingredients at a local market before coming home.   With her purchasing whipping cream and some native strawberries (for ’tis the season, so they say), I set about crafting some mousse.

I didn’t want chocolate mousse – too rich and I didn’t have the right chocolate for it.  I thought abotu what goes with cream and ended up with…frangelico !  Frangelico is a lovely hazelnut liqueur that is best served (in my humble opinion) with cold cream.  Best friends with the exotic Kahlua and the reliable Bailey’s, Frangelico is another one of those dessert-type liqueurs that comes in an immediately identifiable bottle and possessing an unforgettable flavor.  It’s refreshing and delicious and just sounded fabulous with strawberries and a little chocolate garnish.  When I googled my concept, however, nothing came up.

Uh-oh.

I’ve never made mousse and apparently, the world hasn’t made frangelico mousse – all I located were chocolate-based recettes.  As a result, I made up my dessert and lucky for me, it turned out splendidly.  Light and creamy from both egg whites and whipped cream, the mousse was a great summer treat and the strawberries, being native, tiny, and adorable (I know a souris who would have loved them) added an excellent tartness to the dish.  I served mine in chocolate cups, but you definitely don’t need to do that – the mousse is delicious as a solo act.

NOTE:  MOUSSE REQUIRES THE USE OF RAW EGGS.  PLEASE USE THE FRESHEST EGGS AVAILABLE TO MAKE THIS DESSERT IN ORDER TO AVOID GETTING SICK.  If you buy pasteurized eggs, which apparently exist, make sure the whites are whippable, as some pasteurized eggs lose the ability to whip due to protein denaturation.

For the mousse :

3 FRESH eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp (one for whipping cream, one for egg whites)
3-4 tbsp Frangelico (I did it by taste but I would guess it was about this much)

Start by separating the eggs.  Put the yolks in a large bowl and set the whites aside for the time being.  Grab a whisk and roll up your sleeves – mousse requires some serious mixing skills.  Add the 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and vanilla to the yolks.  Whisk until they thicken and lighten in color (this step is also known as ribboning the eggs – it makes sure the sugar is well distributed throughout the yolks).  Add the frangelico, stir, and taste.  The yolk won’t hurt you – be bold and taste it !  You should be able to taste a burst of hazelnut and a tiny bite of alcohol, but not much.  If you want more, be my guest and get those yolks a little silly !

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In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add 1 tbsp of sugar and beat again to incorporate, staying at the soft peaks stage.  Set aside.

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In YET ANOTHER bowl, whip the cream until thick and looks like a swirly mountain range.  I used the trusty Sunbeam beater to do this because I didn’t want to whisk by hand and I’d already used BOTH electric mixing bowls.  Kitchen drama.  Add the 1 tbsp sugar, mix again to incorporate, and grab a spatula.

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This next bit is a little delicate.  Start by adding the whipped cream to the yolk mixture.  Using a spatula, fold the cream in carefully – we are trying to increase the volume of the combination.  Don’t over mix – it’s okay if it’s not all incorporated because…

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…we are going to fold AGAIN !  Once all the whipped cream has been added, spoon in the egg whites and continue folding.  When complete, the entire concoction should be very airy, large, and a pale yellow color.  Cover your container and let chill until set – probably a good 4 hours.

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Naturally, we weren’t that patient and ate ours before it had entirely chilled and the sky did not open up nor did the earth quake, so if you are like my sibling and I (two antsy filles with a stubborn sweet tooth), go ahead and indulge early.

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Serve in chocolate cups with chopped strawberries OR on it’s own in a little ramekin OR with a vanilla wafer OR eat it straight out of the bowl.  Bon appétit ! 🙂

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Key Lime Meringue Pie

(Yes yes, I know.  It’s traditionally “Lemon Meringue Pie,” there is no need to correct me.  Today, we embark on a little experimental journey : mixing lemon meringue and key lime pies TOGETHER to make an even more tart and delicious treat.)

A little backstory before diving into the challenge :  my mom always makes key lime pie in the summer…and ever since the beginning, I’ve disliked it.  (That’s right –  thumbs down).  In my household, key lime pie is made with a graham cracker crust, a tart but creamy filling, and a thick (EPAIS) layer of whipped cream on top.  This is a combination that my dad, sister, and mother adore, as I have often watched them devour with gusto this dessert.  In an effort not to sound TOO whiny (or picky), I would take a piece and simply scoop the whipped cream off, leaving it in a large, fluffy pile on the side of my plate.

As a result, when my mom announced this morning that we were having key lime pie for dessert…I was not thrilled. So we struck up a compromise that my dad (!) seemed keen on : NO WHIPPED CREAM.  Turns out I wasn’t the only one disappointed by the excessive chantilly…and so began the fusion process.

The good news :  IT WORKED AND WAS FANTASTIC.

The bad news :  There is no bad news, aside from the fact that those who were hoping for whipped cream are, in fact, going to be let down by this post.  My apologies in advance.

I took a traditional Key lime pie recipe and added more lime juice, more graham cracker, and topped it with the same  meringue cloud as goes on a lemon meringue pie – it’s quite simple to make and renders this treat healthier (less fat !) and lighter on the stomach.  The egg white cuts the tartness of the curd without overpowering (and muting…) your tastebuds with cream.  Simple, quick, fresh, and pretty, this dessert is excellent update on a typical treat.

For the crust :

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbles
5 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon (or a folk).

The graham cracker crumbles should absorb the butter and together make a combination that is crumbly but malleable.

Pour this mixture into a buttered pie pan and, using the spoon, press firmly until evenly coated.

Place this in the oven for about 10 minutes – you’ll just start to smell the crust before it’s ready to be removed.  Let cool.

For the pie :

3/4 cups key lime juice
3 egg yolks
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (NOT EVAPORATED.  DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR LABELS, FOLKS)

This is probably the easiest recipe ever.  Put all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth.

It will look rather like pudding or custard.

Pour the “batter” into the prepared pie pan and swirl with a spoon to evenly distribute.  The filling will not rise (no leavening agent !) so fear not if you are close to overflowing.  We had the opposite problem…as you can see.

Cook for about 20 minutes or until set.  Many key lime pies don’t need to be cooked and are instead “refrigerator pies” but as we added egg yolks, the extra heat will allow those proteins to reform in a more solid position, making the pie more like a flan than a custard.  Trust me, it’s a good choice.  You should be able to touch the surface of the pie and have a little of the filling stick to your finger – nice and thick, but not totally solid.

Let cool slightly before covering again…with meringue.

For the meringue :

3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Little note : when at school, I don’t have an electric mixer, so I am quite used to whipping by hand.  Ergo, I whipped this meringue into a frenzy with my brute (ahem lacking) strength.  For those who don’t want to exercise while cooking, use not a whisk but a mix master (Kitchenaid or the like).  However, please know that it is entirely possible to do pretty much anything by hand.

Put the salt in a large mixing bowl, followed by the egg whites.  You may also add cream of tartar (this stabilizes the egg white foam and helps you whip without fear of failure) but it is not necessary.  Whip until soft peaks foam – just beyond the foamy stage, this moment is where you can lift the whisk out of the bowl and it will just keep a shape.

Add the sugar and whip without mercy.  The mixture will change drastically, thickening and turning glossy.  When your meringue looks like marshmallow fluff or Cool Whip, you are all set.

Plop the meringue on top of the pie and smooth with a spatula (or a spoon, for that matter), swirling towards the center.  To make the little poofs (for lack of a better word…), press the meringue gently with the back of a spoon and then lift up quickly.  Repeat until desired topography is achieved.

Put the pie BACK in the oven and cook until the meringue is nicely browned – like a toasted marshmallow.  It doesn’t take long, so don’t leave the kitchen and watch Dr. Who because if you do so, the meringue will be in an unfortunate position…charred, I’d say.

In any case, we ate about 2/3 of the pie in one sitting…and there are only four of us…so it was quite fantastic (as I sit here devouring the final piece avec une vue de la mer et un sourire digne d’une personne fière de son travail…) 🙂

In any case, bon appétit !

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Strawberry Sponge Cake (Un Fraisier)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normally, I post a picture of JUST the final product here…but I feel like we need to gaze at these strawberries for a minute. I love these small, red fruits.  My mom picked up a pint of berries (locally grown!) from a farm stand and they just looked so…delicious.  Delectable.  RED.  They made me think of this children’s book that my sister and I would always read (and quote) :

In any case, my sister found this gorgeous cake recipe that I figured we had to try as it featured strawberries as the star.  It is a riff on the French “fraisier,” a creation that is creme and strawberries between layers of thin yellow cake.  Our spin uses a very light sponge cake with a rum glaze, whipped cream and strawberry filling smothered in sliced almonds.  For a summer night, it’s essentially perfect.

For the cake :

6 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
2 pints fresh strawberries
2 cups sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans – I usually use parchment paper to line my pans but I’m all out…so wax paper will have to do.

It usually works fine but can be a little tricky if you let the cake cool in the pan.  You have been warned.   Separate the eggs, putting the whites aside for later and placing the yolks in a large mixing bowl.

Add the vanilla and turn on mixer to medium speed, beating the yolks.  As they start to change color, pour the sugar in slowly.  Beat until the yolks take on a light, lemony yellow color.

This is called ribboning, a process where you beat air into the yolks and dissolve the sugar.  When the egg mixture cooks, this intense beating keeps it from turning grainy.  Add the water and the flour, mixing until just combined – no more.  The batter will be mixed more when the egg whites are added.

Speaking of egg whites…in another bowl, combine salt, cream of tartar, and egg whites.  Beat on high until stiff but not dry.  They should form peaks that hold all on their own – like little mounds of snow.  When eggs are beaten, the proteins in the white are sort of…taken apart and put back together again in such a way that the eggs hold air bubbles really well, allowing them to double in volume.

Fold the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to over mix.  The whites add the spring to the cake and will give it that “spongy” texture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour into the pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes and golden brown on top.  You’ll know they are done when you can poke them with your finger and the cake bounces back.  Let cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the syrup :

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup rum

Pour the sugar and water together and boil over medium heat until everything is dissolved. Add rum.  Set aside and let cool.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the whipped cream :

3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Prepare your bowl by placing it in the freezer before pouring the cream in.  Beat on high speed, adding the sugar and vanilla while mixing.  The whisk beats in air to the cream, whose fat particles trap it and allow the cream to double (triple?) in size.

Assembly :

Take one layer of the cake and place it on a cake plate (or platter…or something….).  Paint the top with the rum syrup.  I love this flavor, so I think adding plenty of it is a nice idea BUT if you aren’t a fan of rum, just paint lightly.

Place the whipped cream on top and smooth out.  Place strawberries on top, being sure to distribute evenly.

Put more whipped cream over those berries, followed by the second cake.  Again, paint with the rum syrup and then cover the entire cake with whipped cream.

Plop the rest of the strawberries on top of the cake.  We made a nice design but I think it would be just as lovely with a heaping pile of red, juicy joy.

Cover the sides of the cake with sliced almonds.  We did this by essentially throwing almonds at the side of the cake.  You can achieve this look by taking handfuls of almonds and just smothering the sides of the cake OR rolling the entire cake in the almonds….that seemed too daunting for my sister and I so…chucking almonds at the side of the cake was our choice.  It worked out just fine…aside from the mess.  🙂


Slice and eat on a hot summer night…maybe after a daiquiri…or two.

Bon appétit !

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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