Posts Categorized: Desert

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Just because Christmas is over (phew) doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating, right? Down here in the Southern Hemisphere it’s hot and bright and the heartily-warm comfort-food style Christmas desserts sometimes just don’t cut it on a breezy summer afternoon; we turn to our summer favourite, Pavlova… with a twist.

Classics and favourites exist like fairytales, we love them and bring them out time and time again to the delight of our wide-eyed guests. But once in a while a slight nudge in an unexpected direction reignites the passion and is as welcome as that summer breeze after a hot December day. It’s certainly clear that Pavlova is by far the fairest of them all, but who wants fair all the time!

I’ve posted about Pav before and this recipe is based on the classic. All that is required is a tweak, to the sugar and the vinegar. The addition of the golden brown sugar and dark vinegar transforms this classic from snow white to wicked queen but still maintains all the goodness.

Begin with the basic Pavlova recipe based on Stephanie Alexander’s from The Cook’s Companion.

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

4 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
200 grams of golden caster sugar combined with 50 grams of light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
A few drops of pure vanilla

 The Topping

250ml of thickened cream (for whipping)
250 grams of strawberries, hulled and roughly sliced
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar
1/2 cup each of raspberries and blueberries

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat your oven to 180c. Beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the golden sugar a little at a time and beat until shiny and stiff (and no longer gritty). Add the vanilla, balsamic vinegar and cornflour and gently fold into the mixture until combined.

Transfer the glossy and wickedly-tinted meringue onto a prepared baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Gently flatten the mound a little and smooth out the sides. Don’t worry too much about the look of it at this point as you’ll invert this one after cooking.

Place into the oven and reduce the temperature to 150c and bake for 30 minutes. Then reduce again to 120c and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Switch off the oven and allow the meringue to cool completely. I often bake it the night before the party and leave it in the oven overnight.

Two hours before you’re planning to serve, place the chopped strawberries, additional sugar and balsamic vinegar into a bowl and mix well to coat. Allow the fruit to steep in the vinegar mixture for at least 2 hours, longer if you have the time. This magically transforms the berries into a new taste sensation and transforms the vinegar into a delicious syrup.

Assembly required

Whip the cream to soft peaks and dollop onto the meringue base. Arrange the marinated strawberries on top, followed by the other berries. Drizzle the reserved vinegar syrup over the fruit for a delightful twist on the original.

If it’s terribly hot, pop the Pav back into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Enjoy with an evening breeze and a dip in the nearest pool.

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker
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3.14 and Peach Pie

Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

It’s March the 14th – International Pi-e day 3.14.15 (at least it is in countries that read the date in that format). But hey, I love a food themed day so I’m marking the occasion with the best the last days of a sub-tropical summer have to offer – Peaches, and lots of em!

This delightful recipe is adapted from one of my favourite American cooks – Joy the Baker. When it comes to pie, hers are tried and true and a slice of little ole American heaven.

You may have missed Pi day – but at The Scandinavian Baker HQ every day is pie day, so get baking!

Summer Peaches :: The Scandinavian Baker

Peach Pie

The Pastry

2 1/2 cups of plain flour

2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

225 grams of cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (this adds an amazing tang to the pastry)

Summer Peaches Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Filling

1.5 kg of ripe yellow (kissed-by-the-sun) peaches (6-7 large)

1/2 cup of golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (what the? – yep, coriander, it’s super tasty)

3 tablespoons of plain flour

1 tablespoons of corn flour

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 egg, beaten and 1 teaspoon of water, for egg wash

2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, combined.

Makes one 23 cm pie

Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

Throw the flour, butter and sugar and salt in to your food processor and blitz to combine. Add the cold butter and blitz again until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Combine the water and vinegar and gradually add until the pastry begins to come together and forms a ball.

Turn the pastry out onto the bench and gently kneed into a ball. It will be quite soft and smooth. Cut in half and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.

Slice those sun-kissed peaches and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle over the lemon juice. Whisk together the sugar, spices and  two flours and pour the mixture over the peaches. Gently toss with a wooden spoon to cover. Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the pastry out. The flour mixture will absorb the peach juices as they bake and transform your pie into one any classic small-town American diner would be proud of.

Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

On a floured surface roll out the first pastry disk to slightly larger than your pie dish. It may crack a little around the edge; gently persevere until you have your round pastry.

Gently lift the pastry into your pie dish and press into place leaving the overhang – you’ll need this to join the top o the bottom. Pop this one into the fridge to rest.

Repeat this process with the second disk. Once ready, place the fruit filling into the waiting pie dish and gently place the top disk of pastry on top. Using your thumb or a fork, crimp the edges together to form a seal.

Using a sharp knife, make five slits in the top of the pie to allow any steam to escape. Trim the remaining pasty from around the edge.

Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes at 200c and then reduce the oven temp to 185c for 55 more minutes. The pie will be ready when the crust is a dark golden brown

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving with far too much double cream. How delicious is Maths!?

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Tradition with a Twist

Freshly picked Rosellas :: The Scandinavian Baker

One summer visiting Finland we retired to the family’s lakeside summer house for sauna, swimming under the midnight sun and hunting for early mushrooms and signs of bears.

The Finn’s lovely aunt was preparing a seriously traditional summerhouse style lunch of cheese, dark rye bread and pea soup followed by a bowl of Vispipuuro. The Finn’s eyes lit up – this was going to be a treat. After the main fare she presented the table with bowlfuls of blindingly-magenta wobbling whipped pudding – a sight to behold.

Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

This is a super-easy, if not a little peculiar, desert that everyone will love and can be whipped up (pun intended) in a matter of minutes.

Made on fresh lingonberries and semolina this is a summer classic for summerhouse sojourns.

Fresh or frozen lingonberries are not an ingredient I can easily put my hands on, so necessity is the mother of invention and I took my lead from the Finn’s mother and used her home-grown rosellas.

Rosellas :: The Scandinavian Baker

She adapted the recipe many years ago when they lived in the sun-baked desert in far north western Queensland and berries were impossible to come by but rosellas thrived. There was no nipping down to the local supermarket even for frozen ones back then.

Rosellas make for a fantastic variation on the original. Their flavour is sour and slightly astringent, made deeper by the essential addition of sugar – and not dissimilar to lingonberries.

Ingedients for Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry 

1 litre of cold water

300 grams of fresh rosellas (seed removed)

½ a cup of golden caster sugar

1 cup of semolina

Semolina :: The Scandinavian Baker

Place the rosellas, and water in to a large saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow the fruit to soften and release its deep red colour. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid in to a heat proof jug.

While the rosellas have given up some of their flavour and colour the remaining fruit is still rich and ready for another transformation. Reserve the flesh in a smaller saucepan for later to make into super quick jam.

Return the liquid to the pan and add the sugar, stir to dissolve and add the semolina. Return to the heat and bring the mixture to the boil stirring constantly. If the semolina begins to clump a balloon whisk will help smooth it all out.

Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the semolina is cooked and no longer grainy to the touch. Stirring, always stirring.

Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

Here comes the magic.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and using a stand or hand mixer, beat the pudding with a whisk attachment for at least 5 minutes on high speed. The dark magenta mixture will begin to transform to a paler, lighter and much larger version of itself right before your eyes. The Vispipuuro is born.

It’s best served a room temperature, so allow to cool before devouring. Milk and sugar or cream make for a great accompaniment.

Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Jam

Meanwhile, don’t forget about the rosellas. These are quickly transformed into jam with the addition of half a cup of caster sugar and the juice and seeds of a small lemon. Bring this all to the boil and cook for 10 minutes on a steady heat. Once ready fish out the lemon seeds and transfer into a sterilised jar.

Dollop jam on top of the Vispipuuro for a delightful rosella infused twist on a Scandinavian summer favourite. Then pop down to the lake for a dip!

Lakeside at the Summerhouse :: The Scandinavian Baker