Winter Pavlova with Pears, Pecans and Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce (serves 8)

This is a wonderful winter version of my favorite summertime dessert.  The Pavlova itself is very simple ( and inexpensive) to make, and you must put freshly whipped cream on top.  This version is made for the winter months, with pears, pecans and caramel rum raisin sauce. Perfect for a special dinner on a cold winter night. finished pavlova

Ingredients

For the Pavlova ( meringue)

5 large egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon fine salt

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon espresso or coffee extract

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

For the Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce

1/3 cup dark rum

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup black currants

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Creme Fraiche Chantilly Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

6 ounces creme fraiche

To Finish:

3 ripe Bosc Pears,halved,  cored and cut into 1/8" slices

1 1/2 cups whole pecans,toasted and roughly chopped

1 recipe caramel rum raisin sauce

Directions

For the Pavlova meringue:

Center a rack in the middle of your oven.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Using a pencil, trace a 9" circle in the center of the paper (I use a cake pan as a guide).  Flip the paper over so that the circle is still visible, but the meringue won't touch the pencil.  Set aside.circle

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place sugars, cornstarch and fine salt.  Process until sugars are fine.  Set aside.ingredients

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, coffee extract and vanilla, set aside.mixer ingredients

In the bowl of  mixer fitted with the whip attachment, place egg whites and cream of tartar.  Whip on medium high speed until medium stiff peaks are formed. In a slow steady stream, add sugar mixture and beat until stiff glossy peaks.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then continue whipping on high speed for 2 additional minutes, or until no sugar is detected in meringue when feeling between your fingertips.

Add vinegar mixture to meringue and whip until combined.stiff glossy meringueextracts into meringue

With the circle as your guide,use a rubber spatula to mound the meringue onto parchment paper, allowing for lots of peaks and points which will add to the Pavlova's beauty.  Once all meringue is mounded onto paper, use the spatula to create a sight well in the center area of the meringue ( good for holding all of that cream).forming meringue

Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes.  After 90 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool inside for an additional 2 hours.meringue for oven

When ready to serve, gently peel the paper from the bottom of the meringue and transfer to your serving plate.

(The Pavlova meringue is best made the day you will serve it.)

For the Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce:

NOTE: Please be careful when caramelizing sugar- no kids in the room.  Hot sugar is a very bad burn).

In a microwave on high, heat the rum with the raisins and currants for 45 seconds, set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream with the salt, set aside.

IN a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the sugar and the water and heat until amber in color ( like clover honey).Remove from the heat and quickly stir in a little of the heavy cream to stop the sugar cooking.  Add the remaining heavy cream , stirring until smooth, and then add the rum and raisins.

Can be made up to 1 week ahead.  Warm before combining with the fruit or serving alone.

For the Creme Fraiche Chantilly Cream:

Whip together the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and salt until stiff peaks.  Fold in creme fraiche. Refrigerate until using. ( Can be made up to 1 hour ahead)

To Finish:

Combine the sliced pears and most of the pecans in a medium size bowl ( reserve a few pecans for garnish).  Pour the warm caramel sauce over and mix gently to combine.

Place the Pavlova meringue on a serving dish.  Mound the creme fraiche chantilly cream on top.  Pour the pears and pecan mixture over the cream, allowing some of the sauce to drizzle down the sides. garnish with reserved pecans. Serve immediately.

finished pavlovaplated with flash

 

 

 

Cherry Berry Handpies-yield 8 individual pies

handpiebeautyYou can use any combination of cooked fruit for these pies, peach raspberry, apple, pear cranberry… you get the idea.  When I make these for me and my husband, I like to prep all 8 for freezing, and bake off  just 2 or 3 at a time.  They are nice to pull out of the freezer and pop in the oven anytime, but ESPECIALLY on a snow day! Stay warm and safe everyone!

Ingredients

For the dough:

2 1/4 cups All purpose flour

2 Tbsp. Sugar

1/4 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

1/2 cup ice water

 

For the Cherry Berry Filling:

2 cups (or 1 dry pint) pitted sour cherries

4 cups (or 1 dry quart) mixed berries ( strawberries (quartered), blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries can all be used)

1 Granny smith apple, peeled and diced into 1/4" pieces

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

 

For the Cinnamon Crumble:

1 cup AP flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

 

For the Egg Wash:

1 large egg

2 Tablespoons milk

Pinch of salt

Directions

For the pie dough:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine.

2. Add the butter pieces, tossing with your fingers to coat each cube in flour.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of medium to large peas.

3. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture. and toss with a fork until all water is absorbed.  The dough should hold together when you squeeze it with your hand. If it is too dry, add a tablespoon more water.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat it together into one piece.  Divide the dough into 2 equal parts, flatten each into a rectangle, and wrap each piece well in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at lease 30 minutes before rolling.

The dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen up to 1 month.  To defrost, place wrapped dough in refrigerator overnight.

Make the cherry berry filling:

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the fruit, sugar and orange juice and stir to combine.  Cook over medium high heat until thick, about 20-25 minutes,  stirring as you go so as not to scorch the bottom.  Set aside to cool.  (Filling can be made up to 3 days ahead).

Make the cinnamon crumble:

Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.  Pour in melted butter and mix to combine.  Set aside at room temp.

Make the egg wash:

Combine the egg, milk and salt in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.  Set aside.

To roll the dough and assemble the handpies:

NOTE: I wrote out this recipe working with only half of the prepared dough ( 4 complete handpies).  The recipe makes 8,  4 fit on a sheet pan.  So if you want to make 8, just do this twice, using 2 sheet pans.)
1.Working with one piece at a time,  place the unwrapped,  rested chilled dough on a generously floured work surface. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough. Using a floured rolling pin, press the dough lightly up and down in one direction, turn the dough a quarter turn, and press the dough lightly, up and down, in this direction as well, keeping the rectangular shape in mind as you do so. Repeat the pressing and turning process, until the dough is as 1/2" thick.

2. Begin gently rolling the dough into a rectangular shape,  about 14" inches long and 10 inches wide. Using a dry pastry brush, brush excess flour from BOTH sides of the dough. Transfer the rolled dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.

3.  Using a pizza wheel or a large knife, trim the dough so that it is nice and straight on all 4 sides.  Working top to bottom, cut the dough in half,  and then into quarters.  You should have 4 even strips of pastry , measuring 3.5" wide, and 10" long.

Perfect pie dough!

Perfect pie dough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Brush the perimeter of each strip with egg wash. Place about 2 heaping tablespoons of cherry berry filling in the center of the bottom half of each strip of dough.  Fold the top portion of each strip evenly over the bottom half, and seal edges with fingers.  Using a fork dipped in flour, press the tines into the 3 cut sides of each pastry to seal.

Egg wash the perimeter of each strip.  Look at those butter bits! My Chris did a great job making this dough!

Egg wash the perimeter of each strip. Look at those butter bits! My Chris did a great job making this dough!

filling the pies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Brush the entire top of each pastry with egg wash, and then generously sprinkle with cinnamon crumble.  press the crumble on gently to adhere.

ready for oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, poke 3-4 holes in the top of each pastry for venting steam.

7.Place the sheet pan and pastries into the freezer to chill and rest for at least 30 minutes. ( Once frozen, the pies can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.  Bake straight from the freezer- do not defrost).

8. 15 minutes prior to baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a clean sheet pan with parchment and spray parchment with non stick cooking spray.  Remove pastries from freezer and transfer them to the lined greased sheet pan, 4 to a pan, and bake about 30 minutes or until golden.

broken handpies

Butterhorns (yield 4 dozen cookies)

These are a delicious melt in your mouth cookie made with lots of sour cream, cinnamon sugar and walnuts.  These are almost like mini pastries, and are so delicious, they won’t last very long!  The dough can be made ahead, as can the walnut mixture, so you can whip them out whenever you need (or want!)

Ingredients

1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

1 egg, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons milk or cream ( for egg wash)

For filling:

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons cinnamon

1 cup walnuts

Directions

 

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and orange zest.  Add egg yolk ( reserve the egg white for egg wash), and vanilla and blend till smooth.  Add flour and baking powder and mix until combined ( scrape down the bowl halfway through mixing).  Scrape dough from bowl onto a piece of plastic wrap and pat into a flat disc. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, 2-3 hours, or longer if desired (dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen up to 1 month).

Prepare egg wash and walnut sugar mixture:

For egg wash: Using a fork, combine remaining egg white with the 2 tablespoons of milk and cream and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

For walnut sugar mixture: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade combine sugar, cinnamon and walnut pieces and pulse to grind into a somewhat fine mixture ( no big walnut chunks).  Set aside. (Alternately you can chop or smash walnuts to a fine crumb and then combine with cinnamon sugar, if you don't have a food processor).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Divide chilled dough into 4 equal pieces ( about 6 1/4 oz. each) and, using a little flour if sticky, form each into a round flat disk.  Working with one piece at a time,on a lightly floured board,  roll each disk into a 1/4" thick round , about 8-10" in diameter.  Brush excess flour off of BOTH sides of dough.

Brush the round with egg wash and evenly sprinkle approximately 1/3 cup walnut mixture over the egg wash.  Press the mixture lightly with your hands to help it stick to the dough. (you will have a little walnut mixture remaining for sprinkling on top of the formed cookies).  Using a pizza cutter ( or a long chefs knife) cut the dough ( pie style) into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each cookie up, starting with the wide end of the piece, crescent style, and place on parchment lined sheet pan, about 1 1/2"" apart.  Repeat this process until all cookies are rolled.

Brush each cookie lightly with a little egg wash and sprinkle a bit of the remaining walnut mixture over each.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.

Once cooled, store the butterhorns in an air tight container.

The dough divided into 4 parts, and each shaped into a round disc.  ready for rolling

The dough divided into 4 parts, and each shaped into a round disc. ready for rolling

My little helper<3

My little helper<3

 

the dough rolls easily with a little flour.  don't forget to brush off excess flour from both sides before egg wash and filling.

the dough rolls easily with a little flour. don't forget to brush off excess flour from both sides before egg wash and filling.

 

egg washed, filling spread and patted, dough cut into 12 pieces, ready to roll!

egg washed, filling spread and patted, dough cut into 12 pieces, ready to roll!

 

a little more help from my guys ;)

a little more help from my guys ;)

 

Butterhornns ready for baking.

Butterhornns ready for baking.

 

Yummy!

Yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Dipped, Raspberry Filled Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies

This cookie dough is meant to be used with a cookie press.  I made my cookies into raspberry filled sandwiches dipped in chocolate, but they are also delicious in their “natural” state.  If you are making them to eat plain, brush each with a little egg white and sprinkle some raw or colored sugar on top before baking.

Ingredients

For cream cheese cookie dough:

8 oz. ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

Zest from 1/2 orange, finely grated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

For filling:

1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves

For dipping chocolate:

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

5 tablespoons butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, zest and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolk and mix to combine.  Add flour and mix to combine.  Fit spritz gun with your desired template and roll a portion of the dough into a log slightly smaller than the barrel of the gun.  Spritz cookies directly onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Space cookies about 1 1/2" apart, and repeat until all the dough has been used.   Bake for 12-15 minutes or until bottoms and edges are lightly golden.  Cool before filling with raspberry jam and dipping in chocolate ( see below for directions for chocolate).

To fill cookies:

Turn over half of the cookies so that the bottom faces up.  Place raspberry jam in a small zip top bag and close.  Snip the very tip of one corner of the bag and gently pipe about 1/2 teaspoon of preserves into the center of each cookie.  Top with one of the remaining un-jammed cookies to create a sandwich.

For dipping chocolate:

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter and stir until smooth. Remove from heat before dipping half of each cookie sandwich in chocolate. Refrigerate until set.

 

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Perfect All Butter Pie Dough

Throw away all other pie dough recipes, as this is all you’ll ever need! Perfect pie dough, buttery, crisp, flakey pastry ready to support your favorite fillings.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups All purpose flour

2 Tbsp. Sugar

1/4 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

1/2 cup ice water

Directions

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine.

2. Add the butter pieces, tossing with your fingers to coat each cube in flour.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of medium to large peas.

3. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture. and toss with a fork until all water is absorbed.  The dough should hold together when you squeeze it with your hand. If it is too dry, add a tablespoon more water.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. pat it together into one piece.  Divide the dough into 2 equal parts, flatten each into a round disk, and wrap each disk well in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at lease 30 minutes before rolling.

The dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen up to 1 month.  to defrost, place wrapped dough in refrigerator over night.

To roll the dough:
1. Place the unwrapped,  rested chilled dough on a generously floured work surface. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough. Using a floured rolling pin, press the dough lightly up and down in one direction, turn the dough a quarter turn, and press the dough lightly, up and down, in this direction as well. Repeat the pressing and turning process, until the dough is as 1/2" thick.

2. Begin gently rolling the dough into a nice round shape, approximately 12" in diameter. Using a dry pastry brush, brush excess flour from BOTH sides of the dough.

3. The pie dough is now ready to be placed in the pie pan and crimped. Be sure to chill before baking.

Measure all ingredients before proceeding with recipe

Measure all ingredients before proceeding with recipe

Using a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour

Using a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour

Butter is the size of medium large peas

Butter is the size of medium large peas

The water is worked in to the dough

The water is worked in to the dough

Formed into discs, wrapped and ready to rest

Formed into discs, wrapped and ready to rest

Press, don't roll the dough in the beginning.

Press, don't roll the dough in the beginning.

Ready to roll!

Ready to roll!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Roll edge under and neaten it up before crimping

Roll edge under and neaten it up before crimping

Ready for crimping

Ready for crimping

Perfect! Ready to be blind baked or filled

Perfect! Ready to be blind baked or filled

Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie is my favorite pumpkin pie. It has all of the traditional flavors everyone loves, but is elevated by using ginger steeped cream and whipped egg whites. This is a great example of what I like to bake: everyone’s favorite desserts, better than they’ve had them before!

Ingredients

(1) 9" or 10" pre-baked deep dish pie crust

1 cup heavy cream
3" piece of fresh ginger, sliced thin and roughly chopped

3 large eggs, room temperature, separated
2 cups pumpkin puree ( or (1) 15oz. can)
2 teaspoons cornstarch, sifted
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp.ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. dark rum
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Directions

In a medium sized heavy bottom pot, combine cream and fresh ginger over medium heat and bring to just before simmering. Remove from heat and cover. allow to steep for 20 minutes.

Place one oven rack in the lowest position in your oven ( for the water bath) and one in the center of your oven ( for the pie).

Place a roasting pan half filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, pumpkin, cornstarch, sugars, ground spices , vanilla and rum. Whisk together until smooth.

Strain the cream mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk till smooth and set aside.

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff glossy peaks ( NOT DRY).

Add 1/3 of the whipped whites to the pumpkin mixture and whisk together briskly to lighten the batter. Add the remaining 2/3 egg whites to the batter and gently fold into the mixture until no streaks remain.

Immediately pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie crust.

Place the pie on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake pie on the center rack of your oven for approximately 1 hour or until filling is set.

ENJOY! :)


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