PINK GRAPEFRUIT PAVLOVA W/ HONEY AND PISTACHIOS
No fancy bakeries open this Easter weekend? No problem.
What if you could make a dessert from scratch that is just as impressive as any last course out there, without being difficult itself?
Thanks to an electric mixer, making a jaw dropping dessert like the Pavlova is easier than ever. Here are a couple things keep in mind:
When beating your egg whites, you need an ultra-clean bowl and utensils with no fat in or around them (this includes any egg yolk.) With any interference, the egg whites won’t be able to aerate leaving you with no volume or meringue-like consistency.
Also, don't be shocked by the added vinegar in the meringue portion of the recipe: you won't be able to taste it at all! It's needed though as this small amount of acid because strengthens the whipped-up egg whites and prevent the meringue from them from collapsing.
Pink Grapefruit Pavlova
Generously Serves 6
Meringue: (Can be made a day ahead of time, see below)
4 egg whites
3/4 cup (180 ml) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) white wine vinegar (you can use any kind of light coloured vinegar here)
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
1/2 cup (125 ml) full fat, plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp (30 ml) liquid honey (plus some extra for drizzling)
3-4 pink grapefruits, segmented
1/4 cup chopped and toasted pistachios
Pre-heat oven to 300 F.
Line baking tray with parchment paper.
In stand mixer (or large bowl with electric hand mixer), beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Begin to add sugar, two tablespoons at a time, beating for 30 seconds between additions.
Stop beating when all sugar is added and mixture is glossy and smooth.
Drizzle vanilla and vinegar over meringue mixture and gently fold in with silicone spatula.
Scoop big spoonfuls of meringue onto parchment lined baking tray to make one big mound.
Spread out evenly and smooth with back of spoon mixture is a large, 7-inch circle.
Still using back of spoon, indent the middle of the meringue mixture, making sure to leave a 1-inch border around the edge. Essentially, you're making a future nest in which the whipping cream and fruit twill sit.
Add baking tray to centre of oven and bake for 90 minutes.
Remove tray from oven and add to a spot where the meringue can cool completely.
**Meringue portion can be made a day ahead of time. Let cool on baking sheet, before wrapping sheet and meringue, and keep in a cool, dry place.
Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks.
Add yogurt and honey to whipped cream and beat again until combined.
When ready to serve Pavlova, spread all whipping cream mixture over the top of the cooled meringue.
Add grapefruit segments, chopped and toasted pistachios and a generous drizzle of honey.
Serve within an hour of assembling to avoid the meringue getting soggy.
STICKY BOOZY BUNS
This recipe is a labour of love, but what else are you doing right now? Also, these boozy buns are just as delicious without the glorious hard stuff.
Keeping some key points in mind when youre tackling a multi-step baking recipe (especially if you're experimenting) means you'll be more invested and inclined to wait that extra minute or tweak that little something-something so that in the end, you wind up with a delicious and most importantly, edible product.
Get to know your yeast: Active dry yeast is a granulated yeast that’s in a dormant state. In order to wake it up, it needs two things: a hot bath and breakfast. This process, also known as “blooming”, is done in a mixture of warm water and sugar. Ultimately, what you want to see is your yeast “bloom” into a frothy mixture. This means your yeast is now in an active state and is producing little bubbles of carbon dioxide. It’s these little gas bubbles that will then help to expand your bread dough and, in turn, cause it to rise. Long story short, if your yeast ain’t bloomin’, it ain’t workin’.
Knead to rise: The whole point of letting your bread dough mix and knead for several minutes is to create strong gluten bonds. The stronger the bonds, the more they can support the shape and structure of your soon-to-be big and beautiful loaf. By later allowing your dough to rise, you’re then letting all those gas bubbles from the yeast fill the loaf and give it that light texture it needs.
Moisturize: Aesthetics are important, and wrinkles in bread making are a no-no. When your bread is rising, the simple task of lightly greasing it or covering it with a damp paper towel will prevent the surface from drying and cracking. Like all beauty problems, these are easier to prevent than to fix later on.
Sweet Dough Recipe
Use this recipe anywhere you’d want or need a soft rich dough. From hot crossed to hamburger buns, you really can use it for anything!
¼ cup (60 mL) warm water
1 teaspoon (15 mL) sugar
1 x 8 gram pouch of active dry yeast (just a little under 2 teaspoons)
1 cup (250 mL) homogenized (3.25 per cent) milk
¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (45 mL) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon (4 mL) salt
1 whole egg, plus 2 extra yolks
4 cups (1L) all purpose flour
In the large bowl of your stand mixer, stir together warm water and the first teaspoon of sugar before sprinkling yeast over top. Resist the urge to stir and leave to bubble up while preparing your other ingredients.
To a microwave-safe bowl, add milk, butter, the remaining sugar, vanilla and salt. Microwave for around one minute until butter is melted. Stir well to make sure everything is mixed. Set aside.
Once the yeast mixture is frothy and bubbly, add eggs and turn on mixer (with the hook attachment) at medium speed.
While the yeast and eggs are mixing, add the warm milk mixture a little bit at a time to start (this will avoid cooking the eggs). It should end up being a smooth, warm mixture.
Once all the liquid has been added, begin adding the flour one cup at a time. Allow to mix for 30 seconds before adding another cup. Repeat until all flour has been added.
Turn speed to medium-high and allow to mix for eight minutes. If dough is sticking to the sides of the sides of bowl, stop the mixer and scrape down before continuing mixing. Meanwhile, prepare a large oil-greased bowl.
Once done, the dough will be a little sticky, but it should be smooth and soft. Remove dough from mixing bowl and add to oil-greased bowl. Lightly grease the entire top of the dough as well.
Cover the dough loosely with large piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
While dough is rising, prepare the pans, filling and glaze for baking. For the pans, grease one large or two medium sized baking pan or skillets. Set aside.
¼ cup (60 mL) butter (softened)
2 teaspoons (30 mL) cinnamon (or other spices you're keen on using, but be cautious with the amount as it may pack a punch, like nutmeg!)
1/3 cup (80 mL) packed brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) honey
1/3 cup (80 mL) Grand Marnier (You can also use Jack Daniels, Scotch, Spiced Rum … any caramel-like liquor)
*Note: if you don't want to use liquor, you can always replace the liquid with cream or honey-sweetened water.
½ teaspoon (2 mL)
For the filling, mix together softened butter, cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside at room temperature so it’s easy to spread.
For the glaze, add butter, brown sugar, honey, Grand Marnier and salt to a saucepan. Melt together and bring to a simmer. Let simmer and bubble away for a couple minutes while whisking. Once it is a smooth, brown glaze, remove it from heat. Divide half of the glaze and put in the pans you’ll be using. Set the other half aside for later.
Once your dough has risen, push down to deflate. Remove from bowl and add to lightly floured surface. Also, sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Lightly pull and stretch dough into a rectangle shape.
Use a rolling pin to then work the dough into a large rectangle shape, roughly 16 inches (40 cm) by 12 inches (30 cm). You may need to alternate between rolling and stretching until you get a evenly thick rectangle.
Once your dough is rolled out, spread entire top side with all the filling. To begin rolling, start at one of the longer sides of your rectangle. Begin to softly roll the dough up, like you would a sleeping bag, until it is one big cylinder. Cut into 6-10 pieces and divide among pans. Lightly cover with damp paper towel before loosely covering with plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 350 deg. C and let buns rise for about an hour until doubled in size. Bake for 25-35 minutes in middle of oven until deep golden and centre swirl of bun softly springs back when pressed.
Once out of the oven, drizzle with remaining glaze before allowing to cool on rack. Enjoy immediately or wrap air-tight with plastic wrap and keep for a day or so.
Makes 6 large buns, or up to 10 smaller ones