Pavlova with Strawberry Jam and Rosewater Chantilly Cream

Unlike its distant cousins macarons which have gained so much attention in the culinary world, pavlova- also a meringue based dessert, remains rather less known. The dessert was believed to be created by a hotel chef in the 1920s in honor of the beautiful Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand (thanks Wikipedia!). A pavlova is made with a French meringue which is cooked in the oven for a long time, about an hour, at a very low temperature to let it dry out. The outer shell of the meringue should be crisp, while the interior has a fluffy, marshmallowy texture. The cooled meringue is then topped with whipped cream and fruit right before being served. Nothing beats a good pavlova in springtime – light and airy, topped with seaonal berries, it feels a lot “healthier” than it really is!


(6 servings)

Pavlova
Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (can be substituted with white vinegar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 120 C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 4 4-inch circles on the parchment paper.
  3. With an electric mixer set to medium, whisk together the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt for 3 minutes. Let the mixer keep running and add in the sugar, a spoonful at a time. Stop when the meringue is thick and can form stiff (around 6 minutes in total).
  4. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Start from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly, and leave a slight depression in the center.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. (Halfway through baking rotate the baking sheets so the meringues will cook as evenly as possible.)
  6. Allow to cool in the oven before trying to remove them from the parchment paper (otherwise they may stick!).

Rosewater Whipped Cream
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 drop of red coloring
  • a very small amount of rose water

Directions:

  1. Add the cream to the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Beat on high speed until it begins to thicken.
  3. While the mixer is still running gradually add the sugar and coloring.
  4. Once the whipped cream is ready turn off the mixer.
  5. Add rosewater in small amount. Taste and see if you think the whipped cream has enough rose flavor, if not repeat the process. (Rose water can be quite potent so you don’t want to overdo it.)
  6. Assemble the dessert by putting the whipped cream on top of the Pavlova, add strawberry jam and berries for garnishing.

Cherry Clafoutis

Family legend has it that I swallowed all the pits when I ate cherries for the first time… and I actually believed that when my dad told me a cherry tree would be growing on my head (in fact I was pretty excited about that!!!). Twenty some years have passed, there is no cherry tree on my head, but my fondness for the fruit continues to deepen. When cherries appear at my local market, I just have to buy them. Sweet, crisp and juicy, they often don’t even make it to my kitchen- I usually gobble them all up on my way home. But if there  are a few left, I will use them to make this dessert.

Cherry clafoutis is one of the easiest French desserts you can ever make, simply perfect for cherry season and is absolutely amazing. The batter used in clafoutis is based on a crêpe batter. Unlike traditional custard, it contains flour, giving it a dense texture. The thickened batter ensures that any juice that escapes from the cherries is well-contained. Other fruits would also work well in this dish. Try peaches, blueberries, plums or apricots!

Voilà! Un dessert facile et délicieux!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh sweet cherries, pitted
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius . Butter and lightly flour the baking dish.
  2. Scatter the cherries over the bottom of the dish.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugars together.
  4. Add in the salt and flour.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Pour into the baking dish over the cherries.
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes in water bath, until lightly browned or a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in the oven for 10min before taking it out.
  9. When cool dust the clafoutis with powdered sugar. Serve!

Note: It will wiggle a bit when you pull it out of the oven, that is normal.

Place on a wire rack to cool. The clafoutis will have puffed up quite a bit and will deflate while cooling.


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NYC Part II-Sweets in the City

I know what you are thinking, yea the title is very cliché but how can I write about NYC without paying tribute to my favorite TV series of all time! NYC has always been called the fifth major SATC character, alongside Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda. A decade has passed since the last episode was aired, surprisingly I can still vividly recall how I happily lost sleep over the show in my teenage years… How I went through numerous emotional rollercoasters while watching the fabulous foursome in their endless pursuit of the two “Ls”- labels and love. Just like the two “Ls”, dessert is essential in women’s lives (think of all the heartbreaks and PMS that you were able to get through because of it :p).
Life is uncertain, let’s eat dessert first!

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1. Magnolia Bakery
1240 Ave of the Americas, New York, NY

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Carrie tells Miranda about a major crush while scarfing down one of this bakery’s signature cupcakes. While Magnolia is famous for its buttercream-topped cupcake, it’s the bakery’s creamy banana pudding that impressed me most. Just a tip, skip the long line at the original Bleecker Street location and head to the other branches, e.g the ones in Grand Central Station/ Rockefeller Center.

2. Wafels & Dinges
W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

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Originally started as a food truck in East Village, now it’s everywhere in New York. The waffles are soft, chewy, and caramelized along the exterior. Don’t miss the absolute best part – the spekuloos spread!!

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3. Sprinkle cupcakes
Upper East Side, 780 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10065

sprinkles

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Sprinkles actually first started in Beverly Hills, California, it then became so popular that it can now be found in almost all major US cities. All their cupcakes are topped with its trademark modern dots or seasonal decorations, bringing a cute sophisticated look to the American classic. I ordered my cupcake from the cupcake ATM, the cake tastes nice and moist and doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of frosting.

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4. La Bella Ferrara
110 Mulberry St (btwn Canal & Hester), New York, NY

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With the encroachment from Chinatown and expansion of SoHo, Little Italy is becoming Littler Italy. Though many claim that it exists mostly as a nostalgic memory or in the minds of tourists who still make it a must-see on their New York itinerary, I had some really good cannoli there.

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5. Jacques Torres Chocolate
350 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

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The chocolatier has long earned its place as a worthy detour for lovers of baked goods and chocolate. It also serves my favorite hot chocolate in the city! The intense cocoa slurry is thick and has a good hint of bitterness from the dark chocolate. They also offer to add in whipped cream, so that’s an added bonus!

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S’mores Cookies

While there are so many beautiful, elegant options of desserts out there—delicate macarons, bright and cheery cupcakes, fluffly soufflé that melts on your tongue —which all seem to fit perfectly with the current trend of attractive, over-the-top looking desserts.

Call me old-fashioned, I’m still a huge fan of the homiest, rustic looking cookies (those you secretly wished your mother had made when you returned home from school as a kid!). Most of the cookies I make fall into this category.

If you love that perfect combination of warm, melted chocolate and gooey, toasted marshmallows of s’mores, then I have the perfect cookie recipe for you… Make these S’mores Cookies tonight, no campfire required!

s'more cookies

s'more cookies


Serves 10-12 large pieces of cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ¾ cup digestive biscuit crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup marshmallow bits

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
3. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
4. Crush digestive biscuits by hands until they are fine crumbs.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the crumbs, sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.
6. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until it is combined.
7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
8. Form slightly larger than golf sized of dough.
9. Place balls of dough on baking sheet 2” apart. Bake for 8 minutes.
10. Remove and quickly press 3 marshmallows into cookies. Return to oven and cook until the marshmallows turn slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
11. Let the cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 min before transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.