Tag Archives: meringue/pavlova

Basic Vanilla Cupcakes … Raspberry (and Blueberry) Cupcakes and Curd

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
2 eggs
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.

Refrigerate until cold and thick.

Advertisements

Brutti Ma Buoni ver. 2 – Uncooked Batter

I recently made a quick batch of blender Hollandaise sauce using a recipe a blog friend shared with me and had two egg whites to play with. So I made the ‘easy’ version of ‘brutti ma buoni’.

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’

Sweets to the Sweet … Raspberry Jello Mini Meringues

NOTE: I’ve made all three desserts (citrus curd, madeleines and meringues) before. However, there’s a new TWIST for the meringue recipe.

Although not having a huge sweet tooth, I recently developed a lemon craving and decided to make lemon curd with the two lemons in my fridge. I had enough citrus juice for my recipe as I was able to supplement the shortage with lime juice, but ran short of zest for my second planned dessert … madeleines. I was sure I had some lemon zest in the freezer but I was wrong and ended up using orange zest instead. I love that citrus varieties are mostly interchangeable in cooking.

After making a batch of lemon curd, I ended up with extra egg whites.

Now, I’ve tossed more than my share of egg whites down the drain, in my time,  as I can only eat so many meringues and pavlovas and my single attempt at sponge cake was met with disaster. However, these bright coloured mini meringues caught my eye while web surfing. They get their colour and flavour from something that many of us have in our pantries … a package of Jello. You’ll notice that the vibrant colour of the mixture pales dramatically as the whites are being beaten so, if you want something brighter, you’ll  have to add gel paste to boost the colour of the final product.

Raspberry Jello mini meringues – You can find the recipe for these meringues on line here.

I decided to pipe these mini meringues as I was hoping for lovely ridges on the final product but I had problems getting stiff peaks, and the ridges softened by the time I got the entire tray piped and into the oven. Of course, you can spoon out larger mounds and and serve them as colourful pavlovas topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits.

Orange poppy seed madeleines – Madeleine pans will give your little cakes the classic design when presented bottom side up, but if you don’t have any, you can certainly bake the little butter cakes in mini muffin tins.

Mini Pavlovas with Blood Orange Curd and Fresh Berries

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.

The assembly:

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. 🙂