Pavlova with Lemon Curd

When I think of pavlova, I think of my dear friend Rita. She was the first person who introduced me to the deliciousness of pavlova, and did so in such a beautiful way that it will always be cemented in my memory. A strawberry-kiwi pavlova with whipped cream. Amazing.

With the end of the school year comes goodbyes. These goodbyes are always hard, and one of these hard goodbyes was to my fellow staff at my school. Teaching contracts can be finicky things if you don’t have a permanent or continuing contract, which I didn’t this year. Hence, we had to say goodbye.

For our year-end staff get-together, we decided to have a potluck. Considering my luck with cheesecake (you might remember my Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake), both myself and my fellow staff members were all for me making dessert, and I wanted it to be something special. Paul was the genius that suggested pavlova, and I had everything in the fridge to make it, including cream to make whipped cream to top it. The only thing I didn’t have was the fruit.

I bought strawberries and peaches, and made simple fruit toppings to go with the pavlova, the lemon curd, and the whipped cream. The original recipe I found here. I have found that pavlova is not particularly difficult to make, but is time-consuming. Still, the results were worth it. I will let you know, pavlovas are traditionally Australian, and are meant to be crisp on the outside, and slightly gooey and marshmallow-esque on the inside. These ended up practically perfect.

I made a few changes to the recipe, none very special or important. Instead of making one large pavlova, I made a dozen small, individual-sized servings. This made it much easier to serve. Either way, I was very pleased with the results, so were my staff members, and so was Paul. It was a win-win-win situation. This is the perfect summer dessert; light, airy, fruity, sweet, tart. It’s got a bit of everything you need.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 large pavlova, or 12 small servings

For the pavlova:

6 egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. white vinegar

For the lemon curd:

Zest of one lemon
1 ¼ c. sugar
½ c. butter, softened and at room temperature
4 eggs
½ c. lemon juice
Pinch of salt

For the fruit topping:

¼ c. sugar
1/8 c. water
2-3 c. frozen fruit (I used strawberries and peaches)
2 tsp. cornstarch, mixed with 2 tsp. cold water

For the whipped cream:

1 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

To make the pavlova, preheat the oven to 395°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. If making one pavlova, trace a cheesecake ring on the parchment paper and flip so the traced circle is next to the baking tray. If making 12 portions, line two trays with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high until soft peaks form. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, not stopping the mixer until mixture is thick and glossy, and the sugar is completely incorporated. Add the cornstarch with the last tablespoon of sugar. Whip until sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, use a spatula to fold in the vanilla and vinegar.

Spoon the meringue into the ring on the prepared pan, or the twelve portions on the two pans. Make the centers slightly depressed and the edges slightly higher, so the meringue forms a shallow bowl shape.

Place the meringue into the oven, and IMMEDIATELY lower the oven to 210°F. Bake for 1½ – 2 hours, until the outside of the meringue feels dry and crisp. Turn off the oven, and leave the pavlova in the oven to cool completely.

For the lemon curd, in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water (or a double boiler), combine all curd ingredients, and whisk until combined. Whisking constantly, the mixture will thicken over the course of 15-20 minutes. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon, and does not run easily off, it is done.

Transfer to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until cool.

To make the fruit topping, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan until thickened and smooth. Fruit will cook down until tender and soft. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

To make the whipped cream, combine all ingredients in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip until thick and smooth.

To assemble, slice pavlova, or take a pavlova round and place on the serving dish. Top with lemon curd, the fruit topping, and whipped cream, and enjoy!

 

Lemon Loaf

Well, this humble lemon loaf serves as two milestones on the blog now. Firstly, this is my first post of 2017! Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to ring in the new year with loved ones, and that 2017 has been treating you well so far. I’m back to work now, and I have to say, I missed it. Sure, I loved having two weeks off, but by the end of the two weeks, I was going a little stir-crazy. I guess that’s what happens when you love your job!
Secondly, this lemon loaf post is my 100th post on the blog! How exciting! I’ve brought you 100 recipes so far, shared them with you all. I wanted to make a beautiful Pumpkin Chocolate Ganache cake for the 100th post, but cakes require lots of planning, and this lemon loaf just sort of came to be. These kinds of posts are all over the blog, the “I’ve been meaning to write a post and I just made something really good today, so why don’t I just put it on the blog?!” Either way, I am overdue for a cake recipe, and I am sure the cake I planned on will make an appearance soon. 🙂


This lemon loaf also got some rave reviews, and if you are a Lemon Loaf lover, this recipe is for you! Soft, moist loaf cake with a lemony glaze that is just right. I found the original recipe here, and the original author labelled it as “Better than Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf”. Well, I have to say, this lemon loaf is pretty darn good.

This Lemon Loaf is also so easy! It’s a one-bowl recipe, and can be whipped up in no time.

Go make some today! Chances are you have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your pantry!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 loaf

For the loaf:

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
½ c. canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1-2 tbsp. lemon extract (I put 2 tbsp.
1½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the lemon glaze:

1 c. icing sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice (or slightly more or less, for consistency)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan, or coat with Miracle Cake Release.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and sour cream and whisk well until combined. While whisking, drizzle in the oil. Add in the lemon zest and lemon extract (and note that you CAN’T use lemon juice instead of lemon extract in the loaf cake – it will alter the flavour or consistency), and whisk again.

Add in the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk until just combined. Some lumps in the batter is okay, you just don’t want raw flour that you can see in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-52 minutes, or until top is domed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. I started checking the loaf around 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow loaf to cool in pan for 30 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.

Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack, and in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice. The more juice you add, the thinner the glaze will be, so don’t add it all in at once. I made a thick glaze that I had to help move across the top of the loaf cake and slowly drizzled down the sides.

Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Raspberry Lemon Cookies

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So I had a day off today, and I realized that it has been about two weeks since my last post! I have been so busy these last two weeks, and now that Family Day is here, I get a week off (from subbing at least!). I spent the day not really doing much, but I went to get a haircut, and then just puttered around the house doing some chores/errands, and had a great phone call date with a friend I hadn’t seen or talked to in a few years (yes, years!). But that’s the best thing about my friends – so many of them don’t care when they see me or talk to me, and we pick up as if we last saw each other yesterday. I truly believe in the quality of friendship over the quantity.

As I was scrolling through Pinterest, I found this recipe for Raspberry Lemon cookies. Considering I love all of the above, and I felt like it’s been a while since I have made cookies, these were calling my name. The ingredient list was fairly basic, and the one thing I didn’t have (a lemon) I substituted for plain lemon juice and lemon extract.

The one tip which I will pass along is this: make sure your raspberries are frozen when you put them in the cookie dough. The dough feels quite loose and wet (so much so that I added an extra half cup of flour, which is reflected in the recipe I have posted below), but the frozen raspberries actually solidify the dough quite nicely. Then the cookies are simply dropped onto a cookie sheet, and baked! So simple!
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Ingredients

Yield: 24 cookies

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg
½ lemon, zest and juice (or, 3 tbsp. lemon juice and ½ tsp. lemon extract)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
¾ c. frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, egg, and lemon and cream again.

Add in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour, and mix until combined into a sticky dough. The dough may be looser that most cookie dough – this is okay!

Fold in the frozen raspberries, and immediately drop onto cookie sheets and bake for 14-16 minutes, until the edges and bottoms are just barely golden brown and the tops of the cookies are no longer shiny.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for about five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Lemon Squares

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Well. We all know how much I love lemon. (I really just love dessert. Who am I kidding?) Even so, there are so many beautiful flavours to accentuate in gorgeous desserts. Lemon is no exception, and there are so many things to make with lemon. However, one of my all-time favourite desserts to make with lemon are lemon squares.

Why lemon squares? Because of their simplicity. A simple shortbread-type crust with a deliciously tart lemony layer on top, sprinkled with just a touch of icing sugar? Beautiful. I mean, sure, I could make a triple layer lemon cake with a lemon mousse filling and a lemon-loaded frosting (my brain just got really excited… both for the alliteration and of the idea of a cake like that…) but sometimes simple is better.
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I have been making these lemon squares for years now, and they are always a hit. It’s a good thing I have these babies in my arsenal, because they are quick and simple, a no-fuss-no-muss kind of recipe.

Lemon lovers, I’m here for you, and I support you!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 x 13 inch pan, approx. 2 dozen bars

For the crust:

1 c. butter, softened
½ c. sugar
2 c. flour

For the lemon layer:

4 eggs
1½ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
1 tsp. lemon extract
Juice of 2 lemons (fresh or bottled)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and flour. Press into a parchment-lined 9 x 13 pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm and golden.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, and lemon juice and extract until smooth. When crust is done baking, remove from oven and pour lemon mixture over top of crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool competely before dusting with icing sugar, slicing and serving.

*Note – You can also substitute lime juice for the lemon juice and make lime squares. Add a drop or two of green food colouring to bring out the lime colour. *

Pink Lemonade Cake

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It’s basically summer! Considering for the past few weeks have been nothing but a lot of rain, I wanted to make something to hopefully bring the summertime a little sooner. Pink Lemonade Cake seemed like the perfect answer. I recently also bought some Pink Lemonade Tea from David’s Tea. Paul and I made it as iced tea, and it was phenomenal. The cake came out of that love of Pink Lemonade, and love of cake in general.
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I found the original recipe here, and didn’t really make any changes to it. The funny thing is that I had to make this cake twice. The first time I made it, I had invited my dear friend Sandi over for dinner. I made lasagna rolls and this cake for dessert. To be completely honest, we pretty much demolished this cake. By the time she left, there was only about half of the cake left, because I sent her home with a huge piece as well.

The other reason that I made this cake twice is because the first time, the cake stuck horribly to the inside of the bundt pan. When it came out, half of it was still inside the pan, and it did not look nice at all. I mean at all. It tasted great, but not pretty. I hate posting anything that looks as bad as that cake did, so I found a recipe for a Miracle Pan Release.
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Now, I was a bit skeptical about this pan release, but after the first failed try (where the recipe called for an ungreased pan), I was willing to try it. There was a huge improvement. While the cake still stuck a little bit, it was nowhere near as bad as the first time. In fact, with the glaze over the cake, you can barely tell.

Go on and help welcome summer with this cake. You won’t be sorry!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 10-inch bundt cake

For the cake:

5 large eggs, divided
1½ c. flour
1½ c. sugar, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lemon zest, or 1 tsp. lemon extract
2/3 c. lemon juice
½ c. canola oil
4-5 drops red food colouring
½ tsp. cream of tartar

For the glaze:

1½ tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest, or ½ tsp. lemon extract
1-1½ c. icing sugar (as needed)

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix well. In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, lemon zest or extract, lemon juice, oil, and food colouring. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.

In the bowl of a mixer, start whipping the egg whites until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and the remaining sugar, and whip until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 of the meringue and whisk into batter until smooth. Add the remaining meringue and fold gently into batter.

Grease and flour a  bundt pan (I will post the recipe for the pan release soon!), and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Leave in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool.

When cool, transfer to serving plate. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the glaze. Consistency should be not too thick, but be able to smoothly run off the whisk or fork. Drizzle over cake slowly, then slice and serve.