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Pavlova is standard dessert fare at many Australian gatherings. The classic Pavlova is a dessert consisting of a crisp, light meringue base topped with fruit and cream. Most often the centre of the meringue is of a ‘marshmallowy’ consistency. However Pavlova can be stacked in layers, mini Pavlovas, or lightly baked and rolled with a filling.

The meringue can be flavoured with nuts, spices, chocolate, cocoa or coffee powder and filled with custard, mousse, Bavarian cream, mascarpone, fruit curd or yogurt. For my first attempt at making this famous Australian dessert, I made plain meringue with lemon curd filling, topped with fresh strawberries and chopped pistachios.

PAVLOVA

Ingredients:

For the Pavolva

4 egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup / 225g / superfine sugar

3 teaspoons / 8g cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the Passion Fruit Curd

150ml strained passion fruit pulp

2 tablespoons of passion fruit seeds

20ml / 1 metric tablespoon lemon juice

170g / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chopped

200g / 9/10 cup caster sugar

3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks

For the Chantilly Cream

300ml / 1 1/4 cups / 10 fl oz full fat cream

16g / 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

5ml / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Pavlova Assembly

2 green kiwi fruit + 2 gold kiwi fruit, sliced

1/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted

Method:

  • Preheat the oven 135°C / 275°F and prepare a large flat tray by lining it with non-stick baking paper.
  • Beat egg whites until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat egg whites till soft peaks form.

  • Continue beating while gradually adding sugar 1 tablespoon at a time till meringue is thick and glossy.
  • Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still gritty with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves.

  • Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the sifted cornstarch followed by the vanilla.
  • Add the vinegar and pile the mixture onto the baking paper lined flat tray into a 20cm/ 8-inch circle.

  • Hollow out the centre a little and bake the pavlova for about 1 1/4 hours. Cool in oven with door ajar.
  • If your oven runs hot and the pavlova is colouring, simply lower the temperature by 5 or 10 degrees.

  • Store the cooled pavlova in an air-tight container. Meanwhile prepare the passion fruit curd filling.
  • For passion fruit curd, in a medium saucepan place passion fruit pulp, lemon juice, butter and sugar.

  • Cook the mixture over medium heat till the butter has melted and the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • In a bowl place eggs and additional egg yolks and whisk eggs until combined. Whisk the eggs slowly.

  • Pour whisked eggs into the passion fruit mixture. It is important to keep whisking while you do this.
  • Strain the passion fruit curd mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan to remove any ‘eggy’ bits.

  • Add passion fruit seeds and continue to cook over a low to medium heat until mixture has thickened.
  • It should coat the back of a spoon. Once mixture has cooled, place in a sterilized jar and store in fridge.

  • The curd will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. For the Chantilly cream, combine all ingredients.
  • Using a hand whisk or electric whisk, beat the whipping cream in a stainless steel, glass or china bowl.

  • It is whipped properly when it is still soft and billowy but holds its shape when the whisk is withdrawn.
  • Once the cream is whipped, cover it and store in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the pavlova.

  • Remove baking paper from pavlova and place on a serving tray.  Spread the Chantilly cream over top.
  • Drizzle with as much of the curd as you like, decorate with kiwi fruit and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

  • Cut the pavlova into wedges and serve with extra passion fruit curd if desired. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
  • Pavlova cannot be frozen. Assemble right before serving and if you have any leftovers, store in fridge.

Daring Bakers August Challenge

If you need a recipe to use up the last bottle of golden syrup at the back of your kitchen drawer before its due date, this might be what you are looking for. Adapted from Frugal Feeding, it makes a dense, slightly chewy cake, which is deeply infused with the delicate flavour of Lyle’s Golden Syrup without being overly sweet. If you are still left with some syrup after this cake, you can always put it into good use – for pouring over pancakes and porridge at breakfast or for drizzling over salads and fruit desserts or even for a touch of sweetness in marinades and cocktails – right down to the very last drop of this precious liquid gold.

GOLDEN SYRUP CAKE

Ingredients:

125ml golden syrup

25g muscovado sugar

110g unsalted butter

2 eggs, room temperature

200g self-raising flour

50g ground almonds

1-2 tablespoons milk

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 170oC. Grease a 15cm round baking pan and line the base with parchment paper.

  • Melt together golden syrup, muscovado sugar and butter in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat.

  • Beat in the eggs, one by one, until well incorporated. Carefully fold in ground almonds and flour.

  • Use spatula to fold milk into the batter and spoon mixture into the prepared pan and level its top.

  • Bake cake for around 45 minutes or until golden brown and skewer comes out clean from centre.

  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out. Cut into wedges, enjoy with ice cream. Serves 12.

Golden Syrup Cake

Oh dear! I have been neglecting the blog lately because so many things had to be taken care of this month. The success of my 7-day ‘Tour de Maurice’ required days of detailed planning, hotel bookings, phone calls, reading trip advisor reviews, browsing through several tourist brochures, making to-do and to-see checklists, scanning restaurant menus and negotiating for the best deals within my limited time frame. Travelling from home to places I had only seen on maps and meeting people from all walks of life was an exciting adventure I had always been looking forward to.

From Day1 I started this beautiful journey around the coastal roads of Mauritius, stopping to visit hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, churches, beaches and many places of interest I had never been to. My first stay was at Otentic, where I spent the night in a safari tent and got to taste delicious grilled fish and tarte banane. The next day was a relaxed one with a boat trip to Ile aux Cerfs and a leisurely drive along the Eastern coast. My second night was at the Radisson Blu where I was surprised with nice Opera cake on my Birthday eve.

On Day 3 I travelled along the Northeast coast visiting small forgotten villages, followed by an absolutely gorgeous lunch in a beautiful colonial mansion at Demeure St Antoine. After a tiring day and an evening walk on the streets of Grand Baie [bustling with nightlife], I checked in at Bleu de Toi, a charming little guesthouse in Pereybere. I woke up to a bright Saturday morning on my birthday and set off to discover the Northwest part of Mauritius.

I was struck by the imposing façade of the Historical Ruins of Balaclava which stands proudly on the banks of Riviere Citron within the grounds of Maritim resort. Birthday lunch was seafood pasta and apple flavoured mojito at La Plage in Trou aux Biches. This year I had to do without my usual homemade cake, instead I was wowed by 2 patisserie cakes: a Pear & Chocolate Mousse cake and a Genoise a la Vanille, topped with cream and fresh fruit. To end this perfect day, I got a soothing back massage at the Ispa club, the Address Boutique where I spent my 4th night away from home.

Day 5 was a long one as I had to travel all the way from Port Chambly to Black River. The weather got nasty as we hit Albion but mercifully we had clear skies as I edged towards Cascavelle. Visiting Casela Nature & Leisure Park was the highlight of the day as I had not been to the park to see recent additions including camels, giraffes and rhinos. Maybe I will try out the camel ride someday but they said they will be bringing elephants soon… hmm… so much for the adventurous me! For the night, I stopped at Vanilla House, a well equipped guest house next to La Balise Marina.

The plan for following day was to cruise along the west coast right to the tip of Le Morne peninsula where I [finally] visited the famous Slave route, part of the cultural landscape which has been proclaimed as a National Heritage since 2006. From there I drove to La Prarie beach, one of my favorite spots for a brief photo shoot and eventually reached Baie du Cap. From there starts the dangerous road to Chamarel, a rustic village where I was to spend the night.

For the last night, my accommodation was a simple yet beautifully decorated cottage at La Vieille Cheminee, a self sufficient farm in the heights of Chamarel. Driving into the village on the next day, I discovered its old church, Eglise St Anne as well as the attractions it is famous for: the Seven Coloured Earths and Chamarel Waterfalls. Not far away, the Rhumerie de Chamarel provided a comprehensive guided tour of the rum-making process, ending with a gourmet lunch and rum/fruit paste/jam tasting. The final leg of my trip was along the South coast, stopping at Chateau de Bel Ombre, Gris Gris and St Aubin to finally reach home after my exhausting yet enriching ‘Tour de Maurice’.

Back home, I baked myself a small butter cake in my mini Bundt pan to celebrate the end of my holidays. The recipe from Baker Street was a delight to my sweet tooth as I emptied a whole back of plump whole Seeberger cranberries into the batter along with freshly shaved orange zest. Though a bit late for my birthday, I did make up for the lack of a personalized homemade cake with this rich and fruity combination that got me back to blogging.

ORANGE CRANBERRY BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For The Bundt Cake

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup golden caster sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

Zest of 1 medium orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 cup dried cranberries

For The Orange Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan or coat well with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Combine thoroughly and set mixture aside.

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs at once and continue creaming for 1 minute. Add the orange zest and vanilla extract.

  • Beat until combined. Add about half the flour and mix on medium-low speed until just combined.
  • Add the buttermilk and mix on medium low speed until just combined. Add in the rest of the flour.

  • Mix until just combined. Gently stir in the cranberries. Spoon the batter evenly into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes, and then invert onto a rack.

  • Cool at least 20 minutes before glazing. For the orange glaze, combine all the ingredients together.
  • Whisk until it becomes creamy orange color. Pour glaze over cake and serve at room temperature.

Orange & Cranberries

About Me

PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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