The Sweet Spot

Pastry Chef & Traveler

Archive of ‘Flower’ category

Rosewater Meringue Kisses

These meringue kisses were made for a bride’s wedding day. She had a little dessert table that she set up herself and ordered a cake and some meringue kisses from me to fill into the jars. These are pink rosewater scented meringue kisses, I’ve made 2, a white vanilla and this one. I thought the pink looked prettier, so I put it up. Lol

 

I hardly ever make meringue, especially tiny ones as humidity is Malaysia’s second name, they tend to sweat and shrink a little after baked and cooled. The bigger ones (like fist size) are more forgiving. To maintain the original colour (the photo on top, is before baking) you need to use a low temp oven, and PROBABLY use a tray to cover the top heat. Why I say probably, because each oven is different and some tend to have a very high heating element, and some oven, u can only put 1 tray (so it’s remotely impossible to ‘hang’ another tray above the meringue) But be sure to use a low temp, about 80 C.

Saying so, it takes a very long time to bake, say about 1 1/4 hr to 1 1/2 hrs. So I’m not sure if you’re ready to pay for electricity for such tiny gems, since it will take almost the same amount of time for 2 8″ cakes. Just trying to be practical here. Does electricity charge according to the function or the temperature of the oven besides time of using? Hrmmm..

Another tip is, use a star nozzle that has lots of ridges, so as you pipe, you get a nice roundish shape, and little edges. The multipurpose Wilton tip 1M doesn’t work for this unfortunately. I tried, and it’s ugly. I used Matfer’s PF 16. It’s a pretty good tip for eclairs and choux puffs too!

 

This is after 1 1/4 hrs in the oven and sat in the oven for about 3 hrs after I turned it off. A little crinkle on this one. Once it’s completely cool, put it in the air tight container. Because it might sweat and be all stick, make sure you put a layer of parchment paper in between layers of these meringue kisses if you’re stacking them.

They can be stored in the freezer and be eaten as it is once u take it out from the fridge.

You can also crush them and make tiramisu layers. Oh right, I think Nigella mentioned this in one of her books before.

How about sandwiching them with a dark dark chocolate ganache?

(psstt, the plain white ones makes a good emergency treat for my dogs :P)

Rosewater Meringue Kisses
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookie
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs whites
  • 170g sugar
  • light squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract (for plain)
  • OR 1 tsp of rosewater
  • dash of light pink colour
Instructions
  1. Place sugar, egg whites and tartar in a bowl over (not on) simmering water. Constantly whisk the egg whites until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour the egg mixture into a clean bowl. Using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or a hand held mixture, slowly beat egg mixture. Gradually increase speed and continue to beat mixture until stiff peaks have almost formed. Add in extract or rosewater and colouring.
  3. Mixture is ready when whisk attachment dipped into mixture leaves a curled but stiff peak when removed.
  4. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a close or open star tip and pipe ½ inch to ¾ inch wide cookies, making sure to set them one inch apart from one another.
  5. Bake at 75-80 C for 1 ½ hours, then turn off oven and leave the door slightly ajar for meringues to cool down with the oven. Store meringue cookies in an airtight container away from any heat or moisture.

 

 

Pavlova with Honey-Lavender cream and Poached Strawberries

It was one of the first things that caught my eye when I bought Sur La Table’s The Art and Soul of Baking. It’s at 40% off ($24 only, maybe abt $30 after shipping depending on where u’re at) now at amazon and I bought the book many years ago (about 3) at RM154.12 in one of the book stores here. Is that why Malaysians don’t read / buy books much? It’s just ridiculously priced. Anyway..pardon the Monday talk.

 

I scaled the recipe down and made only 3 pavlovas. I hand whisked (don’t bother hand whisking if u’re making the full recipe unless u desperately need some hand workout) the meringue and added brown sugar instead, I don’t know what was I thinking then, but here it is. My pavs looked a bit brown cause my temperature was slightly higher than normal pavlova temperature. But still crunchy outside and fluffy inside.

The main reasons of making this was, again, I bought some ingredients and tried to make ‘something’ to use the ingredient. Not oh-I-want-to-make-this-so-i-buy-the-ingredients. Totally opposite. Lol. I am the type that goes and buy random stuffs and figure, oh ok now what am I going to do with this. I find it a little more fun this way. Anyways we’re not talking about that either. The main idea of this pavlova was to use up some of the Korean Strawberries my mum bought from the market. She bought them cause I was sick haha.

That ray of light was totally unintentional. I had not realized it until I’ve uploaded the photos to my mac.

They were small but perfect looking strawberries. Very red, extremely fragrant and sweet! Make some striking red strawberry sorbet; perfect for such hot weathers. I just bought another 2 boxes, I’m hopefully going to make ichigo daifuku with this batch. The last time I made, it was very ugly cause the strawberries were ….. huge and whitish. So… yup, just watch this space for a little longer.

(But then again I’m just saying, I may make something else then lol)

Pavlova with Honey-Lavender cream and Poached Strawberries

(adapted from Sur La Table’s The Art and Soul of Baking)

(makes 8 mini pavlova)

Meringue
130g caster sugar (2/3 cup)
1 tbsp corn starch
3 large egg whites (abt 80-90g
1/4 tsp cream of tartar / white vinegar / lemon juice
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Poached Strawberries
1 box of strawberries (abt 250g); or estimate 3-4 per serving
500ml water / 2 cups
200g sugar / 1 cup
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped.(optional)

Honey-Lavender Cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
t tbsp dried lavender blossoms
250ml whipping cream / 1 cup
1 tbsp mild-flavoured honey

 

1. Make pavlova. Preheat oven to 120C. In a clean mixing bowl, place egg whites and cream of tartar in and whip on medium high speed until foamy. Gradually add caster sugar and salt. Continue to whisk at high speed till almost stiff peaks, add in vanilla and whisk for a little longer till its very stiff peak. Sift corn starch over meringue and lightly fold it with a spatula.

2. Baking pavlova. Use a 1/3 measuring cup and spoon the meringue out onto a lined tray (with parchment or silpat, up to you). Make a well in the center (so you have more cream later). Bake for 40-50 minutes until faintly golden and crispy on the outside. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

3. Poach the strawberries. Wash berries and pat dry. Hull each berry and cut them into half; cut 1/4 if they are huge. Place water, sugar and vanilla seeds and pod (optional but adds extra yumminess) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, until sugar is completely dissolved. Carefully transfer berries into the pot and bring to boil again. (may just take abt 1-2 minutes only) Turn off heat and cover the pot. Let berries sit in the syrup until mixture is at room temperature – about 30 minutes.

4. Make honey-lavender cream. Place sugar and lavender in a spice grinder and blend till fine. Place cream, honey and 1 1/2 tbsp lavender sugar in a clean bowl. Whisk till soft peak forms. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to assemble.

5. Assemble. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the strawberries from the poaching liquid and drain slightly. (Save the poaching liquid for cocktails / smoothie / juice) Place a meringue on each serving plate. Fill the centre of each meringue with honey lavender cream and top with strawberries. Serve immediately.

 

The lavender cream went really well with a what-may-be-tasteless-pavlova. Nothing much to comment about the poached strawberries, they were absolutely perfect. Poaching them introduces a mild vanilla flavour (if u’re feeling lavish and adds a vanilla pod) and reduces tartness (if the fruits aren’t very ripe). If the strawberries are small, don’t poach them for too long as it may turn all mushy looses out its texture.

 

*Since I’m still in the theme, I’d support the Aspiring Bakers #5 Fruity March with this entry.

Ispahan Mini Cake

I can’t think of any other names for this cake. Since it’s inspired from Pierre Herme’s Ispahan, I shall call it that then. Just think lychee, raspberry and rose; a very romantic combination of flavours, which is just perfect for this Valentines Day.

Like I mentioned earlier, we had a BBQ / Pot luck session with bloggers. I’ve already lost count on the times we’ve had gatherings, lunches, dinners, meet ups and all. It just gets better and better each time. Now, what do u get when u go to a pot luck with a bunch of food bloggers? Awesome food!!! No kidding :) (and also lotsa cameras)

Pretty, much? Hrmmm.. Almost there but not quite there yet. It’s time to get proper mini cake rings. Uh but they’re so expensive *cries* Can someone tell me where to get them, cheap?? Then you must be wondering, how did I get it to this shape if I don’t have any cake rings. (Uh, actually I don’t have any turntable at home too!! HAHA I’m very used to frosting without a turntable, that is. Anyways… ) Just use acetate (or plastic cover sheets) and shape them into cylinder shapes.

I made this cake not for Valentines Day, but for a bloggers pot luck. Coincidentally, it’s reddish, kinda fits the whole Chinese New Year and Valentines’ Day theme. I’ll blog more about the pot luck in the next post, but for now, the cake first. Inspired from Pierre Herme’s Ispahan, I recreated a cake based on those flavours. The components of the cakes were rose joconde soaked with rose syrup, raspberry mousse, lychee gelee, a-macaron-which-made-no-sense-putting-it-in-there, and rose bavarian cream.

Ispahan Mini Cake

(makes 7 of 2 1/4″ diameter round cake)

Rose Joconde
30g almond meal
30g hazelnut meal *or use 100% almond meal*
2g dried rose buds
75g whole eggs
16g flour
12g melted butter
50g egg whites
8g caster sugar

Lychee Gelee
5 g gelatin powder
160g lychee puree
20g sugar
1 tbsp lychee syrup / water

Raspberry Mousse
125g raspberry puree (from frozen raspberry)
25g caster sugar (if using fresh raspberry, add sugar to taste)
7g gelatin powder
250ml cream, whipped to medium peaks

Rose Bavarian Cream
10g gelatin powder
2 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
125ml milk
1 tbsp rose extract (add to taste)
250g cream, whipped to medium peaks

Rose imbibage (soaking syrup)
100ml water
50g sugar
few drops of rose extract
few dried rose buds

Decorations
Fresh raspberry
Rose petals

Method

1. Make the gelee. Soak gelatin powder with water or lychee syrup (if using canned lychee) and let it bloom. In a food processor, whizz lychee till it’s like puree. In a saucepan, cook lychee puree and sugar till it bubbles. Remove from heat. Melt gelatin in the microwave for 1 minute. Add gelatin to lychee puree and stir. Pour into a flat surface (I used a 6″ x 6″ size ) The gelee layer should be about 1cm thick. Let it harden in the fridge overnight.

2.Make soaking syrup. Bring everything to boil in a saucepan. Leave to cool while you make the rest.

3. Make joconde. Whizz dried rose buds in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, whisk icing sugar, almond, hazelnut meal, rose and whole eggs till light and almost double in volume. It should be at a ribbon stage. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites till soft peak. add in caster sugar and whisk till medium peak. Set aside. Gently fold in flour into whole eggs batter. Gradually fold in melted butter. Then lastly fold in meringue in 2-3 batches. Pour into a sheet pan lined with Silpat or parchment paper, spread it. Bake at 220 C for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool. Cut the cake base with round cutters. Place them in the cake rings.

4. Make raspberry mousse. Soak gelatin powder with 1 tbsp of water and let it bloom. With a food processor, puree raspberry till smooth. Pour into a small saucepan. Cook with caster sugar till bubbly. Remove from heat. Melt gelatin in the microwave for 1 minute or more. Add into the raspberry mixture and stir. Whip cream till medium peaks. Fold into the raspberry mixture over ice bath to prevent whipped cream from curdling. Fill in a piping bag and pipe evenly out on 7 cake rings making sure the sides are filled.

5. Make rose bavarian cream. Soak gelatin powder with 1 tbsp of water and let it bloom. In a saucepan, heat milk and caster sugar. In another bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks. Gradually pour the warm milk into the egg yolks while whisking at the same time. Then pour back the custard into the pot and consistently whisk it over low heat till the mixture is thick. Melt gelatin in the microwave then stir into the custard mixture. Add in rose essence, the amount depends on which type of essence you use. Fold whipped cream into the custard mixture over ice bath.

6. To assemble, lay a rose joconde and with a brush, dampen it with the rose syrup. Fill the 1/st layer with raspberry cream which is about 3-3.5 cm thick. Then lay a layer of gelee, cut with smaller round cutters ontop of the raspberry cream. Put it in the fridge to chill. Then pour in the rose bavarian cream (this is not piping friendly as it’s quite liquid-y) evenly into 7 rings. Let it chill in the fridge for 3 hours or till it has set.

7. Decorate with rose petal and fresh raspberry.

Have u fallen asleep yet with the long list of ingredients and methods ?I hope you haven’t yet!!

Just a sneak peek on the pot luck session with the ladies over the weekend.

Thats me grilling fresh bak kwa *tough job I tell ya!!*

OKay that’s it for now.

Happy Valentines’ Day :)

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