Thought I’d post a Halloween themed dessert … chocolate panna cotta garnished with chocolate meringue “bones”.
Presented by my friendly, home made witch. Who really deserves a name.
I often have extra egg whites to deal with and, though meringues are fast and easy to make, I wanted to switch things up, so I decided to make an egg white omelette.
OMELETTE PICTURE FAIL WARNING:
Turning the omelette out onto the plate was a disaster. I was SURE it was freed up in the frying pan, but it turned out it was still attached, and fell apart. So I dressed it up with more sliced avocados… delicious. Next time I have extra egg whites, I’m going to make this again.
Three Egg White Omelette – serves one
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil (if not using sauteed veggies)
3 egg whites
1/2 tbsp water
pinch of salt
grind of black pepper
Fillings – amounts are estimates
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 thinly sliced green onion
1-2 strips of red or green pepper, diced
2-3 oz sauteed spinach
1-2 slices grilled tomatoes or 1/4 cup sauted diced tomatoes
In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, water, and a pinch salt and pepper, just until frothy. Lightly coat a medium nonstick skillet or omelet pan with cooking spray (or EVOO) and heat the skillet over medium heat. Add the egg whites, swirling to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Cook until set, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a rubber scraper lift the eggs up and let the runny uncooked egg flow underneath.
Spoon filling onto half of the omelette, fold over the empty half, and slide the finished omelette onto a serving plate.
PICSPAM: I posted some pretty pink meringue pictures to make up for the less than photogenic omelette above. Enjoy.
I just listed the ingredients for the meringues cause everyone should know how to make them already. And if you don’t, you can search back on my LJ (or blog) for recipes I’ve posted.
Three Egg White Meringues/Pavlovas – flavoured and with colour trim
3 egg whites
3/4 cups of white sugar
pinch of salt
3 1/3 tbsp Jello powder (optional)
1 tbsp white vinegar
gel colouring paste (optional decoration used on piping bag)
Buying boxes of white or yellow cake mix is tempting, especially when they’re on sale.
It’s convenient and then you can dress up your cupcakes as you want. However, a basic vanilla cupcake batter can be whipped up fairly quickly, especially with a bit of planning. And, those boxes make enough batter for a two layer cake or two dozen medium cupcakes.
With this recipe, you only make enough batter for a single layer cake or, a dozen cupcakes. A lot less to find room for in your refrigerator freezer. And you’re not tempted to eat them all before they go bad when you’re on your own.
Blueberry cupcakes with lemon curd
Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes – makes 1 dozen medium cupcakes
< 1/2 cup (100 g) butter, at room temperature, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup self-raising flour (or 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt)
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed (or blueberries, strawberries**, blackberries)
** If using strawberries, wash, hull and cut into 4 to 6 pieces depending on size.
Preheat oven to 350 deg F/ 170 deg C line 12 medium muffin tins with paper cases.
Using electric beaters, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in half the flour, then all the milk, then the remaining flour, until just combined. Gently fold through the raspberries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20 mins, or until the cakes are springy to a light touch. (A toothpick inserted in the center will come out cleanly. ) Leave the cupcakes in the muffin tin for 5 mins, then transfer the cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool.
When it came time to add the fruit, because I had bought both blueberries and raspberries, I decided to split my batter in half and add half the amount of fruit to each part. Now I have cupcakes with two different kinds of fruit.
The fruit was part of a sale of three 6 ounce packages for $5. The choices were blueberries, raspberries and strawberries but I passed on the latter and grabbed two packages of the raspberries so that I could make raspberry curd with one and still have some to eat straight or bake with.
Citrus curds are common, but you can use berries to make curds, as well, as long as you add some lemon juice.
Raspberry Curd Pavlova
Raspberry Curd – makes ~ 1 1/2 cup
6 oz/170 gm raspberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cups sugar
4 large egg yolks
2-3 tbsp unsalted butter
In a food processor or blender, whirl raspberries with lemon juice until pureed. Pour into a fine strainer set over a measuring cup. Stir with a spoon to force pulp through strainer; discard seeds. You should end up with a total of about 3/4 cups of lemon/raspberry juice.
In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine juice, sugar and egg yolks.
Whisk the mixture and cook until thickened. (If you dip a wooden spoon into the mixture, you’ll be able to run a finger through the middle leaving a clean track on the back.) Strain to remove any cooked pieces of egg or missed seeds.
Whisk in the butter, a tablespoon at a time. Pour into a clean glass jar and lay a sheet of plastic food wrap on the surface so it doesn’t develop a skin.
Put the lid on and refrigerate until cold and thick.
Pavlovas, vanilla pine nut ‘brutti ma buoni’ and chocolate almond ‘brutti ma buoni’
I left out the cocoa powder. Instead, I added a tablespoon of vanilla sugar for flavour. And for nuts, I toasted pine nuts and chopped them up coarsely. I took the egg whites out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for about half an hour, and added the sugar a tablespoon at the time, but had trouble getting the sugar to dissolve so I stirred in the nuts and baked them off anyway.
Rather than getting my usual glossy looking meringues, they were dull and gritty looking after baking.
The taste was still good though. I only added nuts to half the meringue while baking the rest plain. I loved the moist centers of the plain meringues … they turned out more like pavlovas but the vanilla ‘brutti ma buoni’ were tasty. I preferred them to the chocolate version, to be honest.
Inside the vanilla ‘brutti ma buoni’
UUUUGLY Cookie Warning!!
REALLY … I’m NOT kidding. These cookies look funky, especially before you bake them, but they DO taste good.
I’ve been meaning to make these cookies for some time but kept putting it off, until now.
There are two basic techniques or versions of “brutti ma buoni”, and of course, I chose the more complicated one which involves cooking the meringue batter to dry it out before it’s spooned out onto a baking sheet and baked. Even though I watched several videos, I overcooked the batter so that the last few cookies ended up dried and crumbly. These cookies had cocoa powder folded into the batter. Hazelnuts seem to be used most commonly in the recipes that I researched but, I used sliced almonds, since I had some in my freezer. Other nuts like pine nuts, pecans or even walnuts, may be used alone or in combination.
Brutti ma buoni al cioccolato (Chocolate “Ugly but Good” Cookies) – makes 10-12 cookies
2 egg whites (~75 gm)
150 gm white sugar
150 gm nuts, toasted and chopped coarsely**
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
** Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove 1 tbsp of the sugar and sift it, together with the cocoa powder, into a small bowl. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large, clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually spoon in the sugar and continue whisking until hard peaks form. Fold in the sugar/cocoa mixture, then the nuts.
You can spoon the meringue “batter” onto the baking sheet at this point and bake it OR transfer it into a thick bottomed sauce pan and cook on the stove top at medium-low heat while stirring gently. Cook, scraping the bottom, until the batter has dried out and starts pulling away from the bottom and sides, about 10-12 min. (NOTE: Remember, the batter keeps cooking when you pull the pan off the heat so you might want to under cook it a bit.)
Using 2 tablespoons (scrape out the batter from the first with the second) transfer mounds of the batter, onto your lined baking sheet, about an inch apart, and bake for 20-25 min. They will be firm to the touch, but soft deep in the centre.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, after which they’ll be easier to remove with a thin spatula.
Let finish cooling on racks.
You can store leftover cookies in an air tight container in a cool dry place. Don’t refrigerate or freeze.
This is a great make ahead recipe with only a few last minute steps to turn a simple (and inexpensive) meringue into an elegant dessert to serve to company. The Raspberry Eton Mess I made a while ago is another creative and delicious way of using meringues.
The addition of cornstarch and vinegar to the meringue mixture really makes a difference. The resulting ‘pav’ puffs up and is glossy and crisp on the outside and creamy/chewy on the inside.
The combination of whipped cream and curd (blood orange, this time) really takes this dessert to another level.
I chose to make mini pavlovas rather than a single, large pavlova as I was eating by myself and the finished dessert does NOT hold.
Pavlova with Blood Orange Curd and Fresh Berries – makes 8-10 servings
For the pavlova:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
a pinch of salt
1 cup regular white sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
For the assembly:
1 cup of blood orange curd, made with 4 egg yolks
1 cup cold whipping cream
1 tbsp regular white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
1 1/2 cups fresh berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or sliced strawberries
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange a rack in the middle.
Preparing the baking sheet:
Using a 9-inch round cake pan, trace a circle onto a piece of parchment paper with a pen, pencil or marker. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking sheet (the traced circle should be visible); set aside.
Making the pavlovas:
Place the egg whites and salt in a clean, dry metal or glass bowl. Using a whisk attachment and a hand or stand beater, beat on medium speed until the whites begin to lighten in color and only small bubbles remain, about 2 minutes.
Increase the speed to high and add the sugar a tablespoon at a time or pour in gradually in a stream. (If using vanilla sugar, add it to the white sugar at this point.) Whisk until firm, shiny peaks form, resembling marshmallow cream, about 3 minutes.
Sift the cornstarch through a fine-mesh strainer into the meringue.
Drizzle the vinegar and vanilla extract (if using this form) over the top and fold them into the meringue with a rubber or silicone spatula until no streaks of vanilla remain, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
Using the spatula, pile the meringue into the center of the circle drawn on the parchment paper and smooth it to the edges of the circle to form a rough, even disk about 1 inch tall.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and turn the heat down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the meringue is firm to the touch but slightly soft in the middle, about 60 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Run a thin metal spatula under the meringue to loosen.
Carefully slide it onto a serving platter or cake stand. Set aside while beating the whipping cream.
Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a clean, dry metal or glass bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, fold the chilled blood orange curd into the whipped cream, leaving big streaks of curd and whipped cream.
Pile the mixture into the center of the baked meringue and spread it to the edges.
Top with the fresh berries and serve the pavlova immediately.
For 8 mini pavlovas:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need TWO baking sheets. Center two shelves in the oven. Line each sheet with parchment paper. On each paper, draw 4 x 4 inch circles. Divide the meringue evenly among the circles, make a bit of a hollow in the middle. ( I only used 3 egg whites so I managed to squeeze 6 pavs on a single baking sheet)
Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30 minutes then turn the heat off and leave the meringues in the oven for another 30 minutes, in the turned off oven, to cool. Then cool the baking sheets on cooling racks until they come to room temperature.
Assemble as for full sized pavlova.
I had some of the cream and curd left over and poured it into a pretty glass … a great dessert all by itself.
Next time, I’ll make some wonton cups as I did in this earlier post cause the blood orange curd is REALLY really good. 🙂