Tag Archives: fruit

Pavlova!

I think I can safely say that I make no other dessert that consistently knocks people out of their chairs like pavlova. While it certainly looks lovely, there is something innocuous about it sitting on the plate…just this white puff with some yogurt and berries. Nothing special, right? W-R-O-N-G. It’s crunchy on the outside and melt in your mouth fluffy on the inside, a heavenly pillow of dessert. AND you can make it in advance. AND it is secretly the best breakfast ever.  Just trust me on this one, ok? 

Makes 1 medium “cake” or 6 individual “cakes”

4 large egg whites

1 cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw multiple 3-4 inch circles on the paper. I usually end up with 6-7, but draw 8 just in case. They don’t spread in the oven, so you can fit quite a few on one sheet. If it does take two pans, make sure your pans both fit in the oven before you start cooking. No harm in over lapping them a bit.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, OR using a hand-held mixer with both beaters and a large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold very soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. It’s hard to over-beat meringue, so if you’re not sure, give it another minute.
  3. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and fold in with a rubber spatula,.
  4. Gently scoop and spread the meringue inside the circles drawn on the parchment paper. They should be nice, high mounds, 2-2.5 inches high. With a spoon, swirl the middle slightly to create a small well in the center. This will hold your yogurt or whipped cream.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven (about 1 hour). The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you may get a little cracking.
  6. Serve with whipped cream (sweetened and with vanilla) or Greek yogurt (sweetened and with almond) and top with diced berries and fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, kiwis, blackberries, etc.)

Roasted pears with vanilla

I made this for dessert a bit back and it was good…not chocolate, but good. It was, however, an insanely delicious breakfast. Plus, it’s easy to do in advance and serve for a group. Just serve it with some doctored up greek yogurt (honey & walnuts, splenda and almond extract, etc. ) or with oatmeal. Serious crowd pleaser. This adapted from an adaptation that also suggested it as an accompaniment to a cheese platter. I rarely make cheese platters (too dang pricey compared to other apps), but that does sound super good, especially for you perverts that like blue cheese.

Finally, I would just like to note that pears + butter + sugar * roasting = pear caramel sauce. The pears may be the movie stars of this dish, but the sauce is the starlet in the background, silently plotting a revolution.

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 pounds firm medium pears, peeled, halved though the stem and cored
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar.
  2. Carefully toss the pears with the lemon juice, then sugar mixture. Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit (I first slit my halves lengthwise into quarters). Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.
  3. Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Flip the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes longer. My pears were big and took about 50 min total, but if the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking- – a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance.
  4. Serve warm, spooned with the caramelized pear drippings from the pan. If your pear caramel separates a bit, just combine it in a small saucepan over low heat.

Taa-daa! Raspberry buttermilk cake

One of my all-time easiest, most delicious desserts. Adapted from Gourmet, via Smitten Kitchen. They say you can sub other berries for raspberries, but I haven’t tried.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick  unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1  teaspoon pure almond extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in almond extract. Add egg and beat well. (NOTE: I only have a hand mixer and my stuff never ever gets light and fluffy until I add the egg. Don’t fret if it is just crumbly and weird until then)
  3. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
  4. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Distribute raspberries evenly over top, cup side up, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar.
  5. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. (Note: Original recipe says 25 minutes, but I have never had it take that long. The first time you make this, start checking around 15 and note the time. The sugar on top is a neat natural timer. It’s usually done by the time the sugar turns golden). Cool in pan 15 minutes
  6. Eat it up!

Make your own buttermilk: No need to buy buttermilk especially for this or any recipe. Add one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk and let it sit until it clabbers, about 10 minutes. Boom!

Roasted rhubarb

I really liked this recipe, but didn’t luh-uv it. I think I just liked it more in theory than in practice. The thing is, I’m sick of oranges, apples, grapes and bananas! So, I came home from the grocery with rhubarb, a mango, a pineapple, the first good batch of strawberries (yay!) and some raspberries (that’s for my raspberry buttermilk cake– recipe comes later this week…you’re welcome).   It’s great with yogurt for breakfast. Tart, a little sweet and so pretty.

2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
½ cup sugar
½ cup crisp white wine (Sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, etc)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

  1. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Put the rhubarb in a Dutch oven or other deep oven-safe pot. Add the sugar, wine, and vanilla bean, and stir to mix.
  3. Bake uncovered for ~20 min, or until very tender, stirring gently midway

Yummy thick & chewy granola bars

This recipe is CRAZY adaptable. It is great with all sorts of combinations- different nuts, fruits, nut butters, etc.

1 2/3 Cups rolled oats

1/3 Cups oat flour (you can buy this or just process oats until super fine)

1/3  Cup light sugar (white or light brown)

1 tspn salt

1/2 tspn cinnamon

2-3 Cups dried fruits and nuts, all in small pieces

6 Tbls melted butter or veggie oil

1/4 C liquid sweet stuff (honey or maple syrup)

2 Tbls water

1 Tbls molasses (optional)

1/3 C nut butter (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
  2. Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and nut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
  3. Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but don’t fret, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
  4. Cool the bars in their pan for 20 min or so on a cooling rack. After about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. Once 100% cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares.
  5. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried a or even chocolate chips. My mix: pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, cherries and apricots!