Tag Archives: Whipped cream

Golden kiwifruit pavlova

New Zealand’s most renowned dessert is probably the pavlova.  Incidentally, Australians also claim the pavlova…  Awkward.  You’d be surprised at the amount of argument that goes on between the two countries about who invented pavlovas, although both agree that it was to honour the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova when she visited Australasia in the 1920s.  Since I live in New Zealand, I’ll run with the Kiwi version.  Now, I have a little confession: despite being here for eight months, I’ve never actually eaten a pavlova.  Shocking, I know.  The perfect opportunity to amend this terrible state of affairs came in the form of AlphaBakes, which is hosted by Caroline Makes this month.  The special letter is “P” – P for… pavlova.  No-brainer.  Since I’m upholding the Kiwi version of the pavlova story, I figured that I might as well go for the most appropriate-sounding topping possible: kiwifruit.

Now if you’re thinking that those kiwifruit are looking rather yellowish, then you’d be perfectly correct because I used golden kiwifruit.  I’d never heard of golden kiwifruit until I read my New Zealand guide book – I’d only ever come across the standard green ones before, and I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of green kiwifruit.  But golden kiwifruit, oh my goodness, they’re delicious.  I’m a huge fan.  I find that they’re much more flavourful than their green counterparts, and sweeter, too, which I much prefer.  I buy a box nearly every week, and am building up quite a collection of kiwi spoons (plastic spoons with a cutting bit on the handle so that you can slice the kiwi in half with the knife part and scoop out the flesh with the spoon part – genius).

Kiwifruit are one of the few fruits in season at the moment (that I know of), so I’m also submitting this recipe to Simple and in Season, hosted by Feeding Boys and a Firefighter this month.  It’s also a super-simple dessert to prepare – literally just throw all the ingredients (ok, maybe not throw them, but place them) into a bowl, let the electric whisk do all the work and then pop it into the oven (the meringue, not the electric whisk).  Then just top with whipped cream and fruit and ta-da, you’re done!  Simple as.  Slicing it, on the other hand, isn’t quite as straightforward.  I mean, whoever thought that slicing a meringue would be a good idea?  I found it difficult to make a perfectly clean cut through the fruit, whipped cream and meringue.  I think little individual pavlovas would be far easier to serve, so I’ll try that next time.  Thankfully, shoddy slicing doesn’t affect the taste, and this golden kiwifruit pavlova was rather scrumptious.  Extremely sweet though, so a small slice was enough for me.

Golden kiwifruit pavlova

Serves 8-10
Slightly adapted from A Treasury of New Zealand Baking

It’s very important for the mixing bowl and electric whisk beaters to be clean of any grease and thoroughly dry or the egg whites won’t cooperate.  If you’re not confident making meringue, age the egg whites in a jar in the fridge for a few days – this will increase the protein ratio which makes apparently makes the white whip easier.  The meringue will keep for a couple of days on its own so it can be made in advance the day before and then topped with the cream and fruit just before serving.  The pavlova won’t keep very well so is best eaten the same day.

Ingredients

For the meringue:
350g caster sugar
2 egg whites (I had about 65g total), room temperature
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp boiling water

For the topping:
5-6 golden kiwifruit (or green)
200 ml NZ pure cream (or whipping cream)
1-2 tbsp icing sugar

Directions

To make the meringue:
1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C and place a rack in the centre of the oven.  Line an baking tray with baking paper.  Draw a circle of 23cm in diameter in the middle of the baking paper and flip the baking paper over so that you can see the circle through it.

2.  Add all the meringue ingredients to a large bowl, adding the boiling water last.  Immediately whisk for 10-12 minutes with an electric whisk on high speed until shiny with stiff peaks.  Spoon into the circle on the baking paper and spread it evenly with a spatula, smoothing it as much as possible.

3.  Bake for 10 mins, reduce the heat to 150°C/fan oven 130°C and bake a further 45 mins.  Turn off the heat and allow the meringue to cool in the oven for at least an hour (overnight is fine).

To assemble:
4.  When ready to serve, peel and slice the kiwifruit and set aside.  Carefully peel the baking paper off the bottom of the meringue and transfer to a serving plate.

5.  Whip the cream and icing sugar together until stiff and spread it over the top of the meringue, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Top with the sliced kiwifruit and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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The Olympics are over… now what? Banana mousse, that’s what.

So.  The Olympics are over and normal life has resumed.  Does anybody else feel like there’s a gaping hole in the shape of fiver inter-linked rings in their lives now?  At least it’s only for a couple of weeks until the Paralympics start (hurry up already!), but in the mean time, comfort food is clearly the order of the day.  What’s that?  The point of the games was to inspire everybody to go be sporty and all?  Well that’s all good, but people still have to eat, so comfort food wins out for today.  I’ve got the perfect comfort dessert for you – not only is it delicious, but it’s also exceptionally easy and quick to prepare…  Fast food with no McDonald’s in sight.

After last month’s excuse for a nosy snoop around other bloggers’ bookshelves, we’re going “back to the very beginning” for this month’s Random Recipes, meaning back to the original rules of randomly picking a book, then randomly picking a recipe from said book.  Simple.  I used the random number button on my calculator as usual, which directed me to book number five, which turned out to be Cuisine Express, a convenient choice since the recipes are all fairly quick to prepare, though a fair few of the shortcut ingredients aren’t very easy to find outside of France (and are usually expensive if you do), which isn’t ideal.  I needn’t have worried though, since the random number button directed me to page 146, giving me a choice of several different quick fruit mousse recipes.

As delicious and tempting as the raspberry or peach mousses sounded, it’s very much not raspberry nor peach season here, so I chose the banana express mousse.  It definitely lives up to its name as it only takes ten minutes to prepare, although it does require at least two hours of chilling in the fridge before serving.  But actually that’s great because it’s a dessert that can be prepared in advance or even the night before, which is always helpful.  The mousse itself is lovely and creamy and smooth, and the banana flavour comes through strongly, which is great.  I added some honey on a whim since I’ve got a bit of a sore throat so I’m adding honey to things left, right and centre at the moment and that was a delicious little added extra, as were the banana slices and toasted walnuts.  They’re all optional extras, but they can take this from an everyday dessert to one presentable enough to finish up a dinner party without much extra effort (always a bonus!).  Serving it in martini glasses or champagne coupes also automatically makes it look fancier.  Here’s to speedy comfort food!

Banana express mousse

Serves 4
Adapted from Cuisine Express

Although very quick to prepare, don’t forget to plan for the 2h of refrigeration.  The mousse can be refrigerated for longer, even overnight if necessary – the lemon juice keeps the banana from going all brown.  This can work as a fancy dessert served in martini glasses, champagne coupes or other fancy glassware, or an everyday dessert served in little ramekins or bowls.  The decorations on top are totally optional, but do add a little bit of pizzazz to the presentation.  Whilst brown sugar would go really well with the bananas, I decided to stick with white sugar as I’m not sure that using brown would result in the most presentable of colours.

Ingredients

5 bananas (includes 1 to serve which is optional)
1 lemon
40g caster sugar
200ml whipping cream
20g icing sugar
6 walnut halves (optional)
Honey, to serve (optional)

Directions

1.  Peel four of the bananas (keep the fifth one unpeeled until needed) and pop them in a blender along with the juice of the lemon and the caster sugar.  Whizz together until totally smooth.

2.  In a large bowl, whip the cream.  As it begins to firm up, add the icing sugar and continue whisking until firm.  Gently add the banana mixture to the whipped cream and carefully fold together.  Split equally between four martini glasses/champagne coupes/ramekins/bowls.  Refrigerate for at least 2h.

3.  Whilst the mousse is chilling, roughly chop the walnuts and toast in a frying pan over a low heat until fragrant.  Allow to cool and set aside until needed.

4.  To serve, peel and slice the last banana, lay three slices of banana in the middle of each individual mousse, and top with the toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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We Should Cocoa #9: Chocolate & rum-raisin roulade

This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge is a technique rather than a special ingredient.  The challenge is being hosted by Chele at Chocolate Teapot, and she has specified that we should make a “roulade/Swiss roll.”  I’ve never made a roulade before, chocolate or otherwise, which meant I had no idea what I was doing, but I was quite excited to try it out.

Trust me to happen across a recipe involving kirsch-soaked cherries.  I was obviously going to have to try it out, but was suddenly faced with a major dilemma – whilst I do have a precious jar of Griottines (brought back specially from where I’m from in France), I realised I’d rather keep them just for eating on their own, or with whipped cream (which also happens to be an excellent back-up dessert if one’s dinner party dessert doesn’t quite go to plan…).  I was suddenly torn – to use the Griottines or not?  Next to my jar of Griottines, I have a jar of raisins soaking in rum on permanent stand-by.  Dilemma solved: time for a bit of recipe adaptation…

Having found a solution to the Griottines dilemma, time to attempt a chocolate and rum-raisin roulade.  What I quite liked about this particular roulade recipe (and several others that I came across, too) was that there are two stages which don’t take too long, with a good break between, which means that you can go off and do something between the two stages.  Case in point: I had originally planned on trying this recipe out yesterday, and was going to wander off on a little trip to the driving range followed up by lunch (I might live in St Andrews, and 10 mins walk from the driving range at that, but I can’t actually play golf to save my life.  Details, details.) whilst waiting for the chocolate sponge to cool.  However, my general lack of organisation got in the way of the cake-making bit of the plan, so that happened today instead, interspersed by a trip to the gym and the marine labs.  I feel like this recipe was remarkably unstressful to follow, and easily fitted around the rest of my day.  Having said that, although the recipe itself was easy to follow, I did a dreadful job of actually rolling the sponge, and it ended up breaking in three places, resulting in possibly the world’s least presentable roulade.  Woops!  Oh well, at least it tasted good…

Chocolate & rum-raisin roulade

Serves 8
Adapted from Waitrose

If you don’t happen to have any rum-soaked raisins, weigh out about 150g of raisins, cover them in spiced rum and leave them to soak for overnight, or longer if you are organised enough.  I found the trickiest part of the recipe to be the stage that involved rolling the sponge up, possibly because my sponge was quite dry.  Imbibing the sponge with rum would possibly make it more pliable and easier to work with.

Ingredients

150g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
50g self-raising flour
150g rum-soaked raisins (reserve about 1tbsp of rum)
300ml whipping cream

Directions

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.  Butter and line a 32.5 x 23 cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment.

2.  Melt 100g of the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.  Stir in the melted chocolate and sifted flour.

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks.  Carefully fold the whites into the chocolate mixture using a metal spoon.  Once well combined, pour into the swiss roll tin, and shake to level the mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until slightly risen and just firm to the touch.

5.  Place a tea towel on the countertop, and place a sheet of baking parchment over the top.  Turn the baked sponge out onto the baking parchment, remove the baking parchment from the bottom of the sponge and carefully roll it up from the short end (be careful – this is the stage where mine decided to break into several pieces), wrapping it in the tea towel so that it stays in place.  Allow to cool fully.

6.  Drain the rum-soaked raising through a sieve, reserving about 1 tbsp of rum.  Whisk the cream with the reserved rum until starting to thicken.  Gently fold in the raisins.  Carefully unroll the cooled roulade, and spread the whipped cream across it, before re-rolling the roulade (don’t worry if it cracks).  Transfer to a serving plate.

7.  Melt the remaining 50g of chocolate, drizzle it across the roulade, dust with some icing sugar and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Alcoholic whipped cream?! Yes please!

Whipped cream – such a wonderful accompaniment to cakes and many desserts, so simple to create, and so good!  The beauty of whipped cream is in its utter simplicity – that’s what makes it go so well with so many things.  Now whipped cream is amazing in itself, no need to change it, right?  Well, I thought so too, until I tried infusing it with liqueur (you know you’re an alcoholic when…).  Oh yes, that’s right, alcoholic whipped cream.  And there are so many spirits and liqueurs out there that suddenly you’re presented with infinite possibilities…  And you can subtly match your whipped cream to a particular dessert.

Other than not having the ingredients, there is never a valid excuse not to have home-made whipped cream if it goes with a particular dessert.  Don’t ever serve me whipped cream from a can – I’m a whipped cream snob, and I will judge you.  No electric whisk?  Just whip it by hand.  Sure, it takes a little longer but it’s really not that difficult.  Take it from me – I once hand-whisked enough single cream for 12 people, just to prove a point.

Liqueur-infused whipped cream

Inspired by Texts From Last Night (ya, I know – not your standard recipe source)

To be honest, this isn’t really a proper recipe – it’s very much a-bit-of-this, a-bit-of-that – but I just thought I’d put down the basic premise.

Ingredients

Double cream
Icing sugar
Several glugs (a well-known scientific unit of measurement) of a liqueur or spirit of your choice

Directions

1.  Pour the double cream into a bowl, add some icing sugar and several glugs of whichever liqueur or spirit you’ve chosen.

2.  Using the electric whisk (or standard muscle power if you don’t have one), whisk them together to form medium peaks.  Taste and add more liqueur or icing sugar as necessary.

Enjoy!  (Ahem, in moderation of course…)

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