Monday, June 13, 2011

~Long Overdue~

Hello all! I know I've been extremely absent for about a month; my apologies. Sometimes life is just so full and busy that I have to practically force myself to open my laptop! I know a lot of people struggle with exactly the opposite, but I guess I'm just an old-fashioned girl born into a childhood from whence I draw memories that just don't involve personal computers....and those peaceful memories have stuck with me ever since. ;o)

Today I simply want to share two wonderful recipes with you! These are long overdue as they were prepared and enjoyed on Easter weekend, but I have not forgotten them, and I do hope you'll try them at some point.

The first recipe is: Easy Pavlova ---click here!

I was originally going to make a Ghirardelli Chocolate Coconut Torte, but didn't have all the ingredients I needed. Then my husband's amazing cook/baker of a Grandmother looked through what I did have, and saw that I had all the ingredients to make Pavlova, a fluffy, creamy Australian cake named after the famous ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova.

The recipe sounds like it might be difficult, but once you get going it really is very simple! Just be absolutely sure not to allow any water/grease/yolk to mix into your egg-whites.

here you go!:

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 6 kiwi, peeled and sliced (I used Strawberries, sliced vertically instead)



Directions 

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment paper.  

2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Overbeaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Be absolutely sure not a particle of grease or egg yolk gets into the whites. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice and cornstarch.  

3. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.  

4. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack. 

5. In a small bowl beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, sweetened if desired. Top whipped cream with kiwifruit  (or strawberry) slices.



My husband's Grandmother and I also decided to follow a commenter's (tassygirl) handy tip and leave the meringue in the oven to cool overnight:

 "FANTASTIC. Growing up in Australia this dish was part of our national identity, but here in the US I could just never get it right. This recipe is just as it should be. We always let this dish cool in the oven - just turn the oven off at the end of the cooking time and leave it there (even overnight!). For those who have found that it sometimes sticks, in Australia we would coat the paper with a thin dusting of corn starch before spooning the mix onto the baking tray."


I do hope you'll try this recipe! It's fairly easy, delicious, and quite light on the stomach after a large meal. 

Here is what mine looked like once it was finished!






















The next recipe I'd like to share with you is Braided Easter Egg Bread.




I made this bread sheerly for the fun of it, and also because I've never made a loaf of bread before. My wonderful mother-in-law (thank you so much L.!) helped me to figure out the dough consistency before I let it rise, and I think it turned out to be very pretty and tasty! :o) I hope you'll try this one as well, the bread turns out rather sweet and cakey, and goes well with dinner! I also made a small change; I didn't dye the eggs (mostly due to a lack of time), and I mixed a bit of honey and water together for a glaze once the bread was done baking. Oh, and I couldn't resist adding sprinkles. ;o)





Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 whole eggs, dyed if desired
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted



Directions 

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.  

2. Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  

3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.  

4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough.  

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.  

6. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden.




And here are some pictures of my bread before and after baking! :)

















Have a blessed evening wherever you may be, thanks for reading!
 


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