Summer Desserts: Classy Pavlova

 

Any Pavlova lovers?

Well here is a Pavlova that we bake often at college as it is part of the Baking syllabus.

Essentially a meringue based dessert that is baked at a low temperature that gives it a nice and crisp exterior and a soft and marshmallow texture on the interior. The dessert is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years. In 2008, Helen Leach published The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History, in which she argued that the earliest known recipe was published in New Zealand. (Information Source: Wikepedia)

It now is a popular dish in both Australia and New Zealand. I have been baking crisp mini meringue cookies for awhile now. Quite honestly had never really savoured a Pavlova up until I had to teach it to my students at college. The key in baking a good Pavlova is setting the right temperature else they tend  to burn out or stay under baked.

Here are some  essential tips that will ensure a complete no fail Pavlova

  • Ensure the egg whites are completely separated. Even the tiniest bit of yolk will prevent the egg whites from foaming.
  • Eggs must be at room temperature as cold eggs take much longer to beat
  • Always make sure that the mixing bowl for beating the eggs is grease free as any traces of fat can prohibit eggs from getting fluffy.
  • Use caster sugar as it dissolves easily. Whisky sugar and eggs till it doesn’t feel gritty any more. Do not beat this excessively as the Pavlova’s tend to weep once baked.
  • Beating vinegar and cornflour into the mixture creates a soft centre and a crisp shell.
  • Bake pavlovas on less humid days.
  • You may turn off the oven after about an hour and leave the Pavlova in the warm oven for about half an hour for the Pavlova to bake further,  with the oven door ajar. Remember the inside must have a soft texture and slightly chewy on the inside.

Pavlova’s make really pretty summer desserts for entertaining. You may bake a single large Pavolva or choose to make multiple smaller ones. The best garnish for this dessert is topped with some whipped cream, freshly chopped fruits and a coulis if you wish. The addition of a dessert sauce elevates the flavours to another level.

I have used some fresh Kiwi along with a coulis,however most berries like strawberries, black and blueberries, mangoes, mixed fruit work really well too.

Ingredients:

(Makes 2 four inch Pavlovas)

INGREDIENTS QUANTITY
Egg whites 2
Sugar Powdered 100 grams
Vanilla Essence ½ teaspoon
White vinegar ½ teaspoon
Corn flour ¼ tablespoon
Topping  
Whipping cream 120 ml
sugar 10 grams
Fresh fruit (chopped) Kiwi strawberries
DIRECTIONS:

 

1.Preheat oven to 130 (degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw 2 circles four inches in diameter.

2.In the bowl beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers). Beat in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the vinegar and sieve the cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in. Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges.

3.Bake for 1 ½ hour or until the outside is dry and a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and resembles a marshmallow).)

4.Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as the meringue can get soggy.

Chocolate Is The Key To Happiness…Easy Chocolate Gateaux

Chocolate is the key to happiness…

It’s been a hectic and busy  start to 2017 to say the least. I realise we are into May already.I can’t recall when I last sat  down with my cup of coffee and got down to posting for my blog.

I now teach at a Hospitality Institute here in Mumbai and head  the Bakery & Patisserie program. It’s been one fabulous year and I love what I do…which is teach of course.

Teaching: A Rewarding Profession

Keep Calm and Bake on! The quintessential mantra in my kitchen as I begin my day at The RPH Institute of Hospitality Management. A sense of utmost tranquility prevails when I come in to commence preparation for the class.

Of course this is the calm before the storm. Welcome to my world of elevated excitement interspersed with high decibels of noise and commotion, as I take on my task of instructing a bunch of enthusiastic bakers that are keen on bakery specialization The students arrive and I begin with a talk on how Baking is a Science.

“Measure, Measure and Measure”, accurately I chime in a high-pitched tone to set the rule for the baking session, as getting things done to perfection is what I strive for, when I teach. After all baking is all about measuring to the T. The advice is heeded by most and it’s a pleasure to see some very talented baker’s in my class. Each session of the bakery practical covers various hands on methods of Bread making, Various Cakes & Pastries and Desserts.

Teaching is indeed a rewarding profession. The reward is more emotional, especially when your students excel and create exceptional work.

School’s out and I’m on a month’s summer break now. This morning I managed to take a quick peek into my blog account after ages. I have been meaning to share my favourite to go  recipe for an easy and decadent Chocolate Gateaux smothered with  an equally rich and creamy Chocolate ganache, dusted with chocolate shavings and garnished with fresh raspberries. an absolute  show stopper and perfect for summer entertaining.

Hope you all are having a wonderful summer.

Chocolate Gateaux with Ganache Frosting (Serves 8)
INGREDIENTS:
• 2 cups sugar
• 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour ( 218 grams)
• 3/4 cup Cocoa (96 grams)
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup boiling water 

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 180 C. Grease and flour one 9 inch round baking pan.
2. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Then stir in the s
ugar. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
4. Divide the cake into two halves using a very sharp knife.
5. Frost with chocolate ganache. Dust with some chocolate shavings and garnish with fresh raspberries.


FOR THE GANACHE:
• 250 grams(9 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
• ½ cup water
• ¾ cup butter
1. Place the chocolate chips and water in a small saucepan .Now place this saucepan over a pan filled with water and place on medium heat .Keep stirring till all the chocolate melts.
2. Once the chocolate has melted. Keep aside from fire.
3. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the melted chocolate till completely incorporated.

Decadent & Delicious: Chocolate & Peanut Butter Truffles

Anything is good if it is made with Chocolate…

Chocolate & Peanut Truffles

 

Chocolate and Peanut butter lovers are in for a treat with these oh so delicious mini truffles.I have been experimenting with a couple of recipes now.The recipe below is one which has been adapted from deliciouslyyum.com. All though ,I have tweeked the recipe and added my own twist by coating them with some crushed peanuts and sprinkles.Die hard chocoholics may even choose to leave them with a smooth chocolate coating.

Well those of you who  have been following my blogging journey have probably seen me make these up for a kids at a no bake workshop a couple of years ago.They absolutely love getting their hands messy with chocolate and making up these truffles.The creamy peanut butter interior is perfectly paired with a delicious dark chocolate coating.I also like to use an alternative recipe that uses Cream cheese,Peanut butter and Melted Chocolate.Either ways they turn out great.The summer holidays are upon us,so do go  ahead and make these up with your kids.The flavours of Chocolate and peanut butter are sure to evoke some of your best childhood memories.The combination of these contrasting flavours are quite  similar to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.Now that is probably my son’s childhood favorite treat while growing up in Toronto.

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Sundae Funday at Lakeview Cafe: Renaissance Mumbai

Hello Friends!

I was overjoyed to be invited into the kitchen’s of the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre, yet once again.This time it was for the Valentine’s Day event at the Lake View Cafe.In keeping with the theme,I was asked to provide some of my favourite recipes for Sundae’s.The idea being,getting  diner’s at the restaurant to go ahead and make up their own creations for either themselves, their spouse or their friends. What a wonderful way of saying “Happy Valentines’s. Rhomesecrets is an initiative by the  Renaissance in collaboration with SecretIndianrecipe to bring traditional Indian home flavours to life in a five-star hotel kitchen.It was indeed a great experience to have participated in the home chefs event and I certainly look forward to many such opportunities.

Here is an image of the decadent Brownie A la Mode that I  whipped up..The event took place at the Hokey Pokey Ice-cream cart at the restaurant.The diner’s had a choice of making up Sundaes of their choice,pairing it with Brownie’s, assorted garnishes such as Blueberry Compote,Sour Cherries,Chocolate chips,Nuts and Fresh fruit too.Alternatively they could get their ice cream fix on the cold stone slab where multiple flavour’s could be  combined and topped off with sprinkles and sauce’s of their choice.

Brownie watermark

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Chocolate Pots & Raspberries: Will You be My Valentine?

Love is just Love…It can never be explained.♥

Watermark

Ah yes, if it’s a decadent chocolate post  mingled with sweet nothing’s and love, it’s got to be that special time of  the year. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and everything seems like looking through rose-tinted glasses.Right from heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates, red roses,cards professing undying love, special romantic dinner’s, exotic getaways’ and pink champagne on ice.

Yes,I’ve done it all.I have been wooed,wined and dined in style on various Valentine’s with my darling hubs.However the one memory closest to my heart is my first Valentine’s with him  many years ago.We were newly weds and I was moving to live with him in the Middle East. Not knowing what to really give him ,I got him a bright Red heart-shaped pillow that had “I Love you”, embroidered in white, and I picked  up one for myself as well. He had planned a  special home-coming for me too.A table setting for two with a lovely meal all laid out , a dozen red roses, some bubbly  and a sweet little note stuck on the Kitchen counter that read “Welcome home Shy”.The simple joys of life that I cherish till this day.

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