As you can tell I’ve spent the last two days cooking and baking quite a lot – three posts in two days! I’m on a roll! I went on a jaunt down to Whole Foods in search of sorghum syrup to try something new, and whilst I didn’t find it there I did find a slew of other interesting things to waste away my morning – of course! One of those items was Rose Water. A three buck steal! Lately I’m loving all things floral, and not the “smells like your Grandma”, “smack you in the face” floral. A nice subtle hint to enhance the other flavors of the dish.
My recipe index is mostly full of on-the-fly side items, breads, loaves, cookies, and the odd dinner plate – but when the time allows I’ll also post plated desserts. Things that are sure to wow your friends and family, yet won’t hoard all of your free time or thin out your wallet too much. Dessert usually gets thrown to the wayside when it comes to hosting dinner parties (sounds pretentious I know, but don’t try to tell me you hate dinner parties!), or even weekend family meals, and when it is made it’s usually a throw together of cookies or a store bought pie. But, if you can set aside just a smidge of time, you can actually create some beautiful crowd pleasers that are sure to surprise even yourself. This little gem took 20 minutes of prep time and an hour in the oven. Like these rose scented fruit pavlovas…
Easy peasy, lemon-preserve squeezy.
You can even make these pavlovas a couple of days in advance and keep them in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve them. Gone are the days of boring old trifle or fruit salad.
Rose Scented Pavlovas with Candied Kumquats + Fresh Fruit : Yields 10 individual portions
***Note: If you plan to make this dish, please read through the entire recipe list before beginning anything. Timing is key and you don’t want to whip your cream filling before getting those meringues in the oven to dry!
3 large egg whites, room temperature
175 g icing/powdered sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice
-Preheat your oven to 250 F for regular ovens. If you have a convection oven you can lower this temp to 200 F and low fan.
-Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer (or by hand if you’re a champ) until they are frothy and no longer have any liquid remaining. Once the whites start to get a slight sheen to them and are holding a very soft peak begin adding the sugar in small increments, while whipping, until all is incorporated.
-Whip these whites with the sugar for 8-10 minutes or until they are very firm, have a nice glossy sheen to them, and hold their shape in a pointy peak when you pull the whisk out of them.
-Once they are at this consistency (called stiff peaks) sift the cornstarch over them, add the lemon juice, and whip again for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute to incorporate.
-Prepare a sheet tray with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Fill a piping bag with the meringue and pipe the mixture into 3-4 inch circles, then pipe an additional little “wall” around the inner edge of each one, this will keep your filling and fruit more contained later.
***Note: If your meringue hasn’t whipped long enough it will start to sag at this stage and won’t hold it’s shape or “walls”. Whip again if this occurs. Stiff peaks are important.
-Leave 2 inches between each piped meringue, they expand ever so slightly, and you also want to ensure even drying while baking.
-Bake at 250 F for one hour. Technically there is no correct time for baking pavlovas, as some people like them to remain slightly soft inside, and some people prefer for them to be completely dried and crispy. I find one hour maximum at this temperature is fine. If you want them a little softer inside you can bake them for 45 minutes.
-Allow the pavlovas to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before removing from the parchment/silicon mat, and then cool an additional 30 mins or until they’re room temperature.
The Candied Kumquats:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 TB rose water
20 small kumquats
-Bring the water and sugar to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the kumquats and rose water.
-Candy the fruit over low heat for 10-12 minutes until softened, then remove from the heat and rest until room temperature.
The Raspberry Rose Cream: (prepare this very last, just before serving the pavlovas)
500 ml heavy cream
8-10 fresh, very ripe raspberries
3 TB rose water
3 TB icing sugar
-Place all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip at medium speed until the cream holds soft peaks.
-For each plate: place one pavlova disk, fill with two large spoonfuls of the raspberry rose cream, top with the cooled candied kumquats (sliced and seeded), and additional berries and fresh fruits of your choice.
-Garnish each plate with a generous dusting of icing sugar and a few dried rose petals. If you aren’t sure where to find these – try floral teas, that’s where I found these ones!
I’m slowly improving on the photography front, trying to have a little more patience and pay more attention to my set up and light, as well as less post processing on the actual subject. Having this umbrella lighting set up is a miracle, as I really can shoot food at any time of the day!
Ciao for now guys.