Category Archives: baking

Perky Pavlova

Hi to you All!

Summer Pavlova
Summer Pavlova

My life had kept away from my blogger commitment once again. When I started writing , I thought it’s going to be easy to find the time every week to share new ideas, information and stories with you my Dear Readers and Followers.

Life has its ways to surprise me unfortunately not in the best possible scenarios ,but changing a job and trying to relocate your entire being …. never been easy , so keep fingers crossed that everything works out soon.

This time , I’m strolling down memory lane and taking a dessert from Australia.

688d1cc172357e5b3de687e990bd31bfI spent almost 9 years in Sydney and got introduced to Pavlova very early on.
This is a sweet dish  but the history of it is quite interesting and a bit of a mystery.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. It has  a crisp crust and soft, light inside.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.

72d3b27047cd61b09d30911e770d084eThe dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes.

The Australian website “Australian Flavour” gives the earlier date of 1926 for its creation, suggesting that Home Cookery for New Zealand, by Australian writer Emily Futter, contained a recipe for “Meringue with Fruit Filling”. This recipe was similar to today’s version of the dessert. It has been claimed that Bert Sachse created the dish at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, Australia in 1935.

Easy Peach Melba Pavlova from Whipperberry recipe at TidyMom.netIn defense of his claim as inventor of the dish, a relative of Sachse’s wrote to Leach suggesting that Sachse may have accidentally dated the recipe incorrectly. Leach replied they would not find evidence for that “because it’s just not showing up in the cookbooks until really the 1940s in Australia.” (However, a 1937 issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly contains a “pavlova sweet cake” recipe.) A 1935 advertisement for a chromium ring used to prevent the dessert collapsing indicates that the term “pavlova cake” had some currency in Auckland at that time.Of such arguments, Matthew Evans, a restaurant critic for The Sydney Morning Herald, said that it was unlikely that a definitive answer about the pavlova’s origins would ever be found. “People have been doing meringue with cream for a long time, I don’t think Australia or New Zealand were the first to think of doing that.”

4f544685eb769fb1869472470da4cf8cThe first known recorded recipe named “pavlova” was published in the fifth Australian edition of Davis Dainty Dishes in 1926. However this “pavlova” recipe was not meringue based, but was instead a multi-coloured gelatine dish.

Pavlova is made by beating egg whites (and sometimes salt) to a very stiff consistency before folding in caster sugar, white vinegar, cornflour, and sometimes vanilla essence, and slow-baking the mixture, similarly to meringue.

Pavlova vs. Meringue

b814cace33b4997b358da2d95bcde31dThe major difference between the pavlova and a large meringue is the addition of cornflour, which results in the pavlova having a crisp and crunchy outer shell, and a soft, moist marshmallow-like centre, unlike meringue which is usually solid throughout. The consistency also makes the pavlova significantly more fragile than meringue. Because the Pavlova is notorious for deflating if exposed to cold air, when cooking is complete it is left in the oven to fully cool down before the oven door is opened.

4cb5ecd371424f799272f2ef8b0c0661Pavlova is traditionally decorated with a topping of whipped cream and fresh soft fruit such as kiwifruit, passion-fruit, and strawberries. Factory-made pavlovas can be purchased at supermarkets and decorated as desired. A commercial product is available that includes pre-mixed ingredients for baking the meringue shell, requiring only the addition of water and sugar.

Leftover decorated pavlova can be refrigerated overnight, but the dessert will absorb moisture and lose its crispness. Undecorated pavlova can be left overnight in the oven, or for several days in an airtight container, to be decorated when ready.

Here , I share a link to an Australian website , where you can find different types of Pavlova recipes .
You cannot go wrong with Pavlova 🙂

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/7271/classic+pavlova?ref=collections,pavlova-recipes

 

Magnificent Macaron – “Gluten-free and delicious since the 700’s”

Pink Peace....
Pink Peace….

Well after a looong break I’m here again with some interesting facts  now on everybody’s favorite, fancy and fashionable friend – Macaron

I have to tell you the truth , my opinion of homemade Macarons are quite low.  – Swing and a miss if you ask me… They look sad, bit shabby , crooked and just a general mess… I know what I’m talking about I had my own experiences with it and some of “Gastro-guru” friends of mine were experimenting  as well.

Results  ,leave Macarons to the experts , pastry chefs !

But since everyone is still hooked on them , I had the urge to find out more about these cute little things. We all heard about Laudrée and other famous houses making Magnificent , Colourful and Delicious  Macarons , but does anyone know where are they from or how are they made into perfection…

The Macaron cookie was born in Italy, introduced by the chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II. The name is derived from the Italian word macaronemaccarone or maccherone, the Italian meringue.

Rainbow
Rainbow

The macaroon is often mistaken as the macaron; many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonymous.In a Slate article on the topic, Stanford Professor of Food Cultures, Dan Jurafsky, indicates that ‘macaron’ (also, “macaron parisien”, or “le macaron Gerbet”) is the correct spelling for the confection.

Although the macaron is predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the “Macaron Sisters”. In these early stages, the macaron was served were served without special flavors or fillings.

It was not until the 1830s that macarons began to be served two-by-

In all colors...
In all colors…

two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling, was originally called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron.” Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.

Since then, French Macaron cookies have been nationally acclaimed in France and remain the best-selling cookie in pastry retail stores.

In Paris, the Ladurée chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years. In France, McDonald’s sells macarons in theirMcCafés (sometimes using advertising that likens the shape of a macaron to that of a hamburger).McCafé macarons are produced by Château Blanc, which, like Ladurée, is a subsidiary of Groupe Holder, though they do not use the same macaron recipe.

Rustic ...
Rustic …

Outside of Europe, the French-style macaron can be found in Canada and the United States.

In Australia, Adriano Zumbo along with the TV series MasterChef have seen the macaron become a popular sweet treat, and it is now sold by McDonald’s in its McCafe outlets.

On an global level, March 20 marks “Macaron Day”. Created in 2005 in Paris by la Maison Pierre Hermé, it is a tradition that spread across the world. On this day, participating bakeries and macaron shops around the world offer customers one free sample macaron. A percentage of all additional macaron sales is donated to a local charity.

And in addition the Macaron’s recipe! 

Afternoon tea...
Afternoon tea…

To create even-sized macarons, it is best to either create a template on greaseproof paper or buy a specially designed silicon macaron mat. My favourite mat comes from Lakeland in the UK.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 16 minutes

Total Time: 26 minutes

Yield: Approx 10 – 15

Ingredents:

  • 100g / 1 cup icing sugar / ground almonds
  • 2 medium, free-range egg whites
  • Small pinch salt
  • 55g / ¼ cup caster / fine sugar
  • For the filling:
  • 150g / 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 75 g / 2/3 cup icing / powder sugar

 

  • Preparation :
This is the basic recipe for macarons. You can make coloured macarons by (sparingly) using a food colouring paste rather than liquid food colouring. The colour should be added to the egg whites before whisking. However, If you would like chocolate macarons –  Chocolate Macaron RecipeMacarons need a steady, lowish temperature to cook properly, too high and they easily burn, too low and they don’t cook through. These temperatures are a guideline, adjust to suit your oven.Preheat the oven to 140°C/300 °F/Gas for fan oven, 160 °C/ 325°F/gas 3 regular oven

  • Sieve the icing sugar, followed by the ground almonds, into a large mixing bowl and carefully mix together.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the caster / fine sugar, a little at a time and continue to whisk until the whites are very thick and glossy (ideally, you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out – go on, I dare you !) Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mix. The mixture will lose some air and become quite loose, don’t worry, this is the way it should be.
  • Using a piping bag with a 1cm / 1/3″ nozzle, fill with the macaron mixture. Place the silicon mat (see note in the introduction) or paper template onto a baking sheet. Pipe small blobs onto the sheet remembering that less is more at this stage because the mixture will settle and form into the allotted spaces.
  • Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on the work surface to help the macaron mixture to settle and to break any air bubbles, then leave to dry for 20 minutes – the surface of the macaron will become smooth and shiny
  • Bake the macarons in the preheated for 7 – 8 minutes minutes, open the door to release any steam, close the oven door and cook for a further 7 – 8 minutes. The macarons are cooked when they feel firm and are slightly risen.
  • Slide the mat or greaseproof paper onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely Do not be tempted to remove the macarons from the mat until they are cold or you will break them.
  • Make the Filling
  • Beat the softened butter until it is fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. At this point you can beat in any flavourings you may choose. See examples below.
  • Place approx 1/2 a tsp of the filling to the flat side of one macaroon and sandwich together with another then twist ever so slightly to create a bond. Continue with the remaining macaroons.
  • The macarons can be eaten immediately but will benefit from being refrigerated for 24 hours (that’s if you can resist them for that long) as this will make them even more chewy and tasty.

Perfect for an Afternoon Tea , or perfect for your festive cooking.

Seasons
Seasons

Filling variations :

  1. For pink macarons: raspberry, strawberry are good matches, or for contrast add a little vanilla flavouring to the buttercream.
  2. Green macarons work very well with a pistachio flavoured cream, use either food flavouring or finely ground, pistachio nuts. Alternatively, add a little coconut flavouring, fresh lime zest and a tiny squeeze of the juice for a zingy filling.
  3. Purple, blueberry flavour is perfect.
  4. Cream coloured, use vanilla extract for an extra creamy flavour.
  • Yellow, lemon works really well.

I think we can all agree they are hard to make , but since nothing is impossible, have a go , you might surprise everyone! 🙂

Till next time Everyone! 🙂

Hanna

Financier aka. Friand

Fancy-shmancy
Fancy-shmancy

Hi there!

Well, I’m here again… sorry for the delay , I’ve been experiencing troubles with my connections, but all is sorted and ready.

Last week during my “coffee and magazine time”, I came across an interesting article about a nice little cake called Financier.

The article contained a recipe and it was quite easy , so I prepared it , just to try how it will taste and go with fresh fruit and all sorts of things I eat on a regular basis.

Everything was fine, cake butter done , baking time finished … and out of the oven came a familiar fragrance…

That was the moment when I realized , I was baking friands….

With fresh fruit
With fresh fruit

During my life I’ve lived in many places, but my second home is always be Australia. There I encountered many culinary experiences , many different tastes and methods, but after all these years I just found out that Financier and Friand are the same.

A financier is a small French cake, often mistaken for a pastry. The financier is light and moist, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The distinctive feature of the recipe is beurre noisette (brown butter). Other ingredients include egg whites, flour, and powdered sugar. Financiers are baked in shaped molds, usually small rectangular loaves similar in size to petits fours  , often topped with fruit jam or dark chocolate squares. .

The name financier is said to derive from the traditional rectangular

Easy , yet amazing!
Easy , yet amazing!

mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange.

The French word friand, which means dainty or a gourmet who delights in delicate tastes, refers as well to minced meat and herbs in puff pastry, a food item unrelated to the baked items called friand or financier.

Friand is very popular across Australia and New-Zealand.

I hope you found my words interesting.

Now , I’ll write down the recipe so you can all try it at home!

Endless possibilities
Endless possibilities

Financier recipe:

Makes 30

50g butter plus extra for greasing

50g plain flour plus extra for dusting

140g ground almonds

160g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

6 egg whites, at room temperature

50g blueberries, washed and dried

Butter 30 x 6cm (21/2 in) financier tins, dust lightly with flour and chill in the fridge until needed.

Gently heat the butter in a small pan over a medium heat until it turns a dark golden brown, then immediately remove from the heat.

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl then stir in the egg whites.

Gradually stir in the hot butter until you have a smooth batter. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

Spoon the batter into the chilled tins until they are three quarters full, then pop a few blueberries into each one. Bake for 10–12 minutes until firm and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and dust with icing sugar to serve.

In every season...
In every season…

Good luck! 🙂

Till next time!

Hanna