• Mini Pavlovas

    Spring is in the air bbs! And to me, a quintessential spring dessert is pavlova. Pavlovas are meringue nests, either in mini or large form, and are typically filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, lemon curd, or fresh fruit. It can be adjusted based on what is fresh and in season, so there are practically endless possibilities. I feel like that is a running theme of this blog, desserts that can be customized to your liking, and I’m not mad about it. I encourage everyone to play around with flavors and combinations and find what works best for you, the fun is in the process! For these pavlovas, I borrowed the basics from this recipe on ZoeBakes, doubled for more minis, and went from there!

    I feel like I may be the only person on this earth not watching Game of Thrones right now (it’s Sunday night as I’m typing this), and I am instead choosing to watch the 2nd season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina AGAIN because that’s exactly how I roll. Something I should have done today is give my room a good spring cleaning, but what did I do instead? Take a nap, watch TV and make pavlovas. Good stuff good stuff, guess that spring cleaning will have to wait until next week!


    Until then, here are 5 things to be happy about!!
    ONE. 
    Staying up to watch that extra episode because you know you can sleep late tomorrow.
    TWO. Tent dresses.
    THREEFern fossils.
    FOUR. Fried chicken with hushpuppies.
    FIVE. Cleaning out your wallet, makeup case, and purse.
    Let’s get baking!!

    MAKES: 12 mini pavlovas
    PREP TIME: 45 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 2 hours

     

    PAVLOVA INGREDIENTS

    8 egg whites
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    ½ cup cold water
    2½ cups sugar
    2 tsp vinegar (cider, white wine, or distilled)
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch

    PAVLOVA STEPS

    ONE.  Preheat your oven to 300ºF. To prepare your baking sheets, trace 3″ circles about 2 inches apart from each other on the underside of a sheet of parchment paper cut to size. Flip the paper over so that the circles show through but no pencil marks will rub off on the meringues.

    TWO. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the salt until medium-stiff peaks form. At this point, drizzle in the water with the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time, and once all is added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the egg whites form stiff peaks. This means that if you remove the whisk attachment and hold it upright, the egg whites will stick straight up.

    THREE. Add the vanilla and vinegar, and then sprinkle in the cornstarch. Fold the cornstarch into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, lightly shaking the spatula as you fold to eliminate any lumps.

    FOUR. Scoop even amounts of meringue onto each traced circle. Using an offset spatula, start by smoothing around the sides, then create a dip in the center, which will prevent the top from cracking during baking. For a more polished look, smooth the sides of each meringue by holding the spatula horizontal and dragging from the bottom to the top in quick strokes all the way around.

    FIVE. Bake the pavlovas at 300ºF for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 275ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. Finally, turn the oven down again to 250ºF and continue to bake for 30 more minutes. At this point, turn off the oven, turn the oven light on, but do NOT open the oven door. Allow the meringues to sit in the off oven for at least an hour, up to overnight to fully dry.


    BLUEBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS

    1 pint of blueberries
    ¼ cup sugar
    ½ tsp cinnamon
    Splash of amaretto liquor (optional)


    BLUEBERRY SAUCE STEPS

    ONE. Combine all the above ingredients in a saucepan and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat until the blueberries begin to break down and the alcohol cooks off. Allow to cool completely before serving.

    WHIPPED CREAM INGREDIENTS

    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    2 Tbsp sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract


    WHIPPED CREAM STEPS 

    ONE. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed. Add in the sugar and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved and the whipped cream is the desired consistency. For this, some stability is helpful since the blueberry sauce will go on top.

    ASSEMBLY

    ONE. To serve, carefully remove a meringue from the tray so as not to shatter the thin sides, top with a generous scoop of whipped cream, a pour of blueberry sauce, and some extra berries. Best eaten immediately, but if needed, unfilled meringue shells can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

    XoxoxoxoxoD

  • Lemon Meringue Pie (with a broiled top because my dumb torch didn’t have butane)

    Welcome friends! Once again I find myself writing posts a whole week late because my concept of time management is just ridiculous. The weekends come and go in such a flash that I never seem to get anything done. (Also, time really flies when you accidentally sleep until 11:30 on Saturdays.)

    ANYWAYS, today’s recipe is the classic Lemon Meringue Pie, something that I was hesitant to make after a disastrous attempt several years ago made me too afraid to try again. But after buying a fancy new blowtorch I was excited to see how it carefully toasted the peaks to perfection. Well. Of course things didn’t go to plan. BECAUSE after finishing the whole pie and taking out my torch to begin, I discovered to my dismay that it didn’t come with the butane I needed to get going. As you can see based on the title of this recipe, I’m DEFINITELY not still bitter about it and have clearly moved on. In hindsight, it probably should’ve been obvious that it wasn’t in there, and this could all have been prevented by be opening the packaging more than 30 seconds before I was planning to use it, but I’m not perfect so I made do!

    Look at those clean cut lines!!!

    In the end, I used the tried and true oven broiler to get the meringue top brown and toasty and, while this isn’t my preferred method (it starts to make the lemon filling too liquid if it heats up too much), it’s how I always remember my grandma making it, so that’s got to count for something! But I digress, let’s get baking!

    (recipe adapted from The Fearless Baker + my grandma’s recipe cards!)


    Pie Crust Ingredients

    1¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, very cold and cubed
    3+ tablespoons ice water
    1 egg white, beaten

    Pie Ingredient Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your hands or a pastry blender until it’s evenly distributed and roughly the size of peas.

    2. In the center of the flour mixture, add the 3 tablespoons of ice water to start and begin kneading with your hands until it comes together as a dough, sparsely adding water if necessary. You know it’s done when it can be gathered into a ball but still feels slightly dry- never wet or sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    3. When ready to blind bake, roll out the crust on a well floured surface until it’s a few inches wider than your desired pie plate on all sides, making sure to check that it isn’t sticking anywhere. Carefully transfer to your pie plate; I like to fold mine in half and then in half again, then unfold in the plate, but some people like to roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer that way.

    Okay but this is the neatest pie crust I have EVER made

    4. Trim and crimp the edges as desired (I like a fluted crust myself), and prick holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place a square of parchment paper larger than your crust in the middle and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is just golden.

    It’s high time I buy myself some pie weights I think, I waste a LOT of rice doing this

    5. Remove the parchment paper and weights and brush the whole crust with one beaten egg white, then return to the oven. Bake for another 12-15 minutes- watch your edges and cover if they begin to brown too fast! Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.

    Lemon Curd Filling Ingredients

    12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter
    1 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    1¼ cups lemon juice (fresh squeezed, about 5 to 6 lemons)
    10 egg yolks (save 6 of the whites for the meringue!!)

    Lemon Curd Filling Steps

    1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar, eliminating all lumps. Add this mixture to the melted butter, along with the lemon juice and the egg yolks, mixing until everything is combined.

    2. Turn the heat to medium-low and mix constantly, this time with a silicone spatula so that nothing on the bottom of the pan starts to burn. The mixture will begin to thicken in 5-10 minutes, and is finished when it looks like it’s just about to start bubbling.

    3. Strain this mixture through a sieve to get rid of any accidental cooked egg, and cool in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface to prevent a skin forming. While this chills, make the meringue.

    That YELLOW! So fresh! So summery!

     


    Meringue Ingredients

    6 egg whites
    ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    ½ cup white sugar

    Meringue + Pie Assembly Steps

    1. Before you start, make sure the bowl of your mixer and it’s whisk attachment are grease-free. Whip the whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form.

    2. Gradually add in the sugar, allowing it to dissolve and be incorporated, then beat the mixture on high until medium-stiff peaks form.

    3. Fill your cooled pie crust with the chilled lemon curd spread evenly. Generously dollop the meringue on top and spread to the edges. I like mine piled high up and swirled so that when it toasts, the peaks and swirls are highlighted golden brown.

    Obviously with a torch you’ll get a more controlled, even color, but all things considered I’d say this looks pretty delicious!

    4. Once you’re satisfied with the look, you can use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue, or you can place the pie on a high rack in your oven and broil on low for 2-3 minutes- do NOT take your eyes off it, it can go from barely toasted to burnt in two seconds in the oven!

    Now go bask in the glow of the compliments from your friends and family because this pie deserves them! xoxoxoxox

    ALSO while we’re here, it is my dearest mom’s birthday today, so while we won’t be having this pie to celebrate, this post is dedicated to you. YAY!

    Some pretty epic meringue height here!