Tag Archives: dessert

Muscovado chocolate truffles

11 Aug

Muscovado chocolate truffles, meltingly soft, slightly bitter and super decadent (photography by Tasha Seccombe).

Muscovado chocolate truffles, meltingly soft, slightly bitter and super decadent (photography by Tasha Seccombe).

This deceptively simple recipe is not for the faint hearted. You think you might know and love a traditional chocolate truffle? Well, this one takes it to another level of decadence.

My previous assistant at the demo KITCHEN, Elsebé Cronjé, shared my passion for beautiful recipes, pictures and food. She often brought new ideas to the table for upcoming menus and shoots, and this recipe is from one of her books: Adventures with Chocolate by Paul A. Young. It’s a dark chocolate truffle that is made with muscovado sugar. The recipe calls for the muscovado to be melted with fresh cream in a saucepan, forming a rich caramel sauce which is then added to chopped dark chocolate.  It is then stirred to create a smooth dark caramel chocolate ganache. Once cooled, you can roll your truffles and coat them in cocoa powder.

Caramel and melted chocolate, rolled into bite-size balls. Need I say more? I think not.

 Ingredients: (recipe by Paul A. Young from Adventures with Chocolate)

  • 100 g muscovado sugar
  • a pinch of salt flakes
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 250 g finest dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Method:

  1. Add the sugar, salt & cream to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, stirring. When the sugar has melted, remove from the heat.
  2. Add the broken chocolate pieces to a small mixing bowl, then pour the warm cream mixture over it and stir until smooth and glossy and melted. Leave to cool, then refrigerate to set.
  3. Using a teaspoon, scoop some of the mixture and roll quickly into balls. Then cover in cocoa powder and set aside.
  4. Store in the refrigerator, but enjoy at room temperature.

Credits:

This post was written by Ilse van der Merwe for The Pretty Blog.

Text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Roasted plum tart

2 Apr

Roasted plums on a creamy zesty filling inside a baked pastry shell (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Roasted plums on a creamy zesty filling inside a baked pastry shell (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

There is nothing more beautiful than a perfectly ripe plum, its silky matt skin dark and red and tender. Inside, the flesh reveals a golden, juicy, tart, fibrous treasure. I could stare at plums for hours – such astonishingly pretty fruit.

This simple tart is easy to make and – with its rustic charm – a dream to look at. The roasted fruit needs some time to cool, so don’t be rushed.

Note: This tart also looks beautiful when assembled in smaller jars. Just substitute the baked pastry for buttery cookie crumbs (200g digestive or tennis biscuits mixed with 80 g melted butter). Just spoon the crumbs into individual 250 ml capacity jars without compressing it. Top with the creamy filling & roasted plums, then refrigerate. Mobile desserts fit for a royal picnic.

For the pastry:

  • 1 ½ cups (250g) cake flour
  • 125g cold butter, chopped in cubes
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon iced water

For the roasted plums:

  • 1 kg ripe, firm plums (halved, pits removed)
  • ¼ cup soft brown sugar
  • juice of 1 orange

For the filling:

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 250 g plain cream cheese

To make the pastry: Place the flour, butter & sugar in a food processor. Pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the yolk and pulse again. Now add the iced water and process until it starts to come together in a ball. As soon as it does, remove from the processor, then knead briefly to form a smooth ball. Shape into a disc, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface (about 0,5 cm thick). Transfer to a greased tart tin (about 20-23 cm diameter), then press gently into the corners and trim the top. Line with baking paper, then fill with dry beans or rice. Pre-heat oven to 200 C, then bake for 15 minutes. Remove paper and beans, then bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

To make the roasted plums: Place halved plums on a baking tray (alternate cut-side up and down), then sprinkle with sugar & drizzle with orange juice. Bake at 200 C for 15-20 minutes, then remove and leave to cool. Note: you want the plums to be tender, but not too soft – they must still be in tact.

To make the filling: Using electric beaters, beat the condensed milk with the lemon juice until smooth. Add the cream cheese, then beat until well mixed. Pour into the prepared cooled pastry case, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. When ready to serve, top with cooled roasted plums, then slice and serve.

Note: This assembled tart can be refrigerated and enjoyed within 2 days. The pastry will however be best served on the first day.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog.

Text & recipe: Ilse van der Merwe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Photography : Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Crustless ricotta cheesecake

26 Mar

Baked ricotta cheesecake topped with freshly whipped cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Baked ricotta cheesecake topped with freshly whipped cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Many years ago, long before I started writing my food blog, I saved a few pages from a Pick ‘n Pay Fresh Ideas booklet before it became Fresh Living Magazine (not sure the exact date, it wasn’t included in my cut-out). Strangely, I never got around to making their recipe for an Italian baked ricotta cheesecake – although the picture had astounded me each time I saw it.

I recently paged through my saved cut-outs again and decided to finally give it a go. I love a good cheesecake any day and I’m always keen to try out new variations. This one is great because it doesn’t have any crust at all (a little less effort and more than a little less kilojoules) and it is made from ricotta cheese, not cream cheese or cottage cheese. The cake is slightly firmer than most other cream-cheese-based cheesecakes, with a delicate almost-crumbly texture. The smoothness of the texture completely depends on the smoothness of the ricotta that you are using, so look for a creamy and smooth ricotta product. The flavour is surprisingly light and not too sweet – a welcome alternative to heavier cream-based versions.

This Italian-style cheesecake is really easy to make, low in carbs and delicious topped with a layer of unsweetened softly whipped cream. It is best kept refrigerated. Dust with a little icing sugar if necessary.

Crustless ricotta cheesecake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Crustless ricotta cheesecake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients: (makes 1 x 20cm cake)

  • 1 kg ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 6 XL eggs
  • 1.2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
  • juice (about 1/4 cup) and finely grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • a pinch of salt
  • for serving: 250 ml cream, whipped

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150 C. Set oven rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour a 20 cm springform cake tin.
  2. Place all ingredients (except cream) in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared tin.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) until filling is pale gold and centre is firm. Remove from oven and cool in tin.
  4. Remove from tin when completely cool, then top with whipped cream. Slice and serve.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Recipe: Pick ‘n Pay Fresh Ideas booklet

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Photography: Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe

Styling: Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Chocolate churros

16 Feb

Mexican-style churros with a spiced chocolate sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Mexican-style churros with a spiced chocolate sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

If you love Spanish or Mexican food, then you probably already know churros. These deep-fried crunchy treats dipped in spiced chocolate sauce are the naughtiest but best way to end a Spanish feast.

I’ve experimented quite a bit with the consistency of the churro dough. With less water, you’ll get a result that holds shape better and can be piped in longer beautiful star-shaped fingers (with a star nozzle). They are crunchy with a small chewy center. With a little more water, the result is less beautiful to look at (slightly shapeless balls), but the texture resembles French canelés – very moist and chewy.

For the photoshoot, we made the churros with a little more water to show you the result. All of us preferred the “ugly” churros to the beautiful ones, but the choice is yours. Same fantastic taste, slightly different texture.

Ingredients for churro dough:

  • 2 cups (250 g) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 200-350 ml boiling water
  • 50 g melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla essence / extract
  • cinnamon sugar for dusting (mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • about 750 ml canola oil for frying

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 250 ml fresh cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Method:

  1. For the sauce: Heat the cream over the stovetop in a small saucepan. Cut the chocolate into smaller chunks, then add it with the spices to the cream as soon as it comes to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately and stir for a while until the chocolate has melted completely and you have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
  2. For the churros: Combine dry ingredients for churro dough in a medium sized bowl. Mix all wet ingredients and add it to the dry, mixing well until all is combined. Add more water if necessary to create the desired consistency – the mixture should be able to just hold shape.
  3. Put the dough in a piping bag fitted with star nozzle, then let it rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy based pot to about 180 C, then pipe the churro dough into the oil (about 10 cm long). Fry until golden on both sides, turning them with two forks. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then serve with warm chocolate sauce.

Credits:

Recipe, text & food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Black buffet casserole: Courtesy of Le Creuset South Africa.

Preserved quinces in vanilla syrup

5 Oct

Preserved quinces in syrup (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

While many South African cooks and food writers often reminisce about their childhoods filled with quince memories, I only discovered these strange fruit in my adult years. At a friend’s mom’s house, she treated us to her very own preserved quinces with a swirl of canned evaporated milk. It was simply delicious.

Eighteen months ago, I read up on membrillo – a preserved fruit “cheese” made from cooked quince paste. I stored the paste in wax paper and have been maturing it since in a cool dark place in my garage, sampling the batch as it got older. Membrillo is a unique product – a thick, almost spreadable paste that can be cut with a sharp knife and enjoyed as a preserve with cheeses.

A few weeks ago, I found another tray of perfectly yellow and unblemished seasonal quinces at my local farm stall. Although quinces are a prize ingredient, they are very tough to work with. After skinning and coring them, my hands were ruined by their harsh, dry flesh (I would recommend wearing kitchen gloves if you have sensitive hands). Still, it’s such a satisfying process to see how these hard, almost inedible raw fruit can be transformed into something so delicate in flavour, colour and texture.

They are fantastic enjoyed as a dessert straight from the jar with a scoop of ice cream or cream, but they are also great to cook with (especially in venison roasts).

Ingredients:

  •  about 16 large quinces (not too ripe)
  • water for soaking
  • a squirt of lemon juice
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods, sliced open lengthways, seeds removed and set aside
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Method:

  1. Peel and core the quinces, then place them immediately as you go into a large mixing bowl filled with water and a squirt of lemon juice. This will prevent them for discolouring while you work.
  2. In a large stock pot, place the water, sugar, vanilla pods, vanilla seeds and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the water off the quinces, then add the fruit pieces to the hot syrup (do this in batched in order to prevent crowding). Poach each batch for 15 minutes or until tender (depending on the size of your fruit pieces), then remove with a slotted spoon.
  4. Pack the warm cooked fruit tightly into sterilized glass jars, then fill up with hot syrup to cover the fruit. Cover with sterilized heat proof lids.
  5. Rinse the stock pot used for the syrup, then fill it half-way with warm water and bring to the boil (we are creating a water bath). Using tongs, place a cotton dish cloth at the bottom of the pot, then place the filled closed fruit jars on top of the cloth (to prevent the glass from touching the bottom of the pot). The water should just cover the glass jars. Bring to a slow simmer, then cook for 25 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the jars from the boiling water, then set them aside to cool to room temperature. If sealed correctly, the jars will last in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.
Quinces change colour from white to a delicate pastel coral after being cooked. (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Quinces change colour from white to a delicate pastel coral after being cooked. (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Credits:

Recipe, text & food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

As seen on The Pretty Blog.

Donna Hay’s baked lemon pudding

26 Apr

Donna Hay's baked lemon pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Donna Hay’s baked lemon pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Donna Hay‘s recipes and photographs. She is such an inspiration to me, with her iconic light blue styling, simple cooking methods and modern approach to food in general.

Donna uses whole lemons (yes, skins, pith and all) to create this simple pudding that almost resembles a baked lemon curd. It reminds me very much of the middle layer of a South African lemon meringue pie – tart and tangy, yet thick and indulgent. She suggests that you serve it hot or cold with vanilla ice cream – I agree, the ice cream is a must.

I found that this pudding works best when baked in smaller ramekins, preferably not too deep (I’ve tried baking it as one big pudding and I don’t recommend it). Adjust the baking times according to what you have in your kitchen: deeper and larger ramekins will bake a bit longer.

Ingredients: (recipe from Fast, Fresh, Simple by Donna Hay)

  • 1 medium/large thin skinned lemon
  • 330 g (1 1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 3 egg yolks (I used XL)
  • 180 ml (3.4 cup) single pouring cream
  • 30 ml cornstarch / corn flour (Maizena)
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 169 C (325 F).
  2. Cut the lemon into 8 pieces and remove any seeds. Place in a food processor with the sugar and process until very smooth.
  3. Add the butter, egg yolks, cream and cornstarch and process until smooth.
  4. Pour into 4 greased 1-cup capacity (250 ml) ovenproof ramekins/pie dishes. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until just set.
  5. Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Hot cross bun pudding

16 Apr

A moist and decadent hot cross bun pudding, perfect for Easter! (photograhy by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

A moist and decadent hot cross bun pudding, perfect for Easter! (photograhy by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

I love the idea and smell of a tray of fragrant hot cross buns – not only for Easter, but anytime of the year. The thing is, they need to be really fresh in order to be enjoyed as they are, maybe with a few lashings of farm butter. Otherwise they can be quite disappointing.

Well, here’s a way of turning your store-bought hot cross buns “the day after” into something a bit more crave-worthy: a bread and butter pudding. In this case, no butter is added, so we’ll just call it a hot cross bun pudding.

I’ve used a combination of cream, milk and eggs to make the custard base, then added some finely grated orange rind, mixed spice and some chopped dark chocolate to the party. The trick is to let the buns soak for 30 minutes to an hour to get really soft, that way you won’t be stuck with dry pieces here and there.

This pudding is fabulous for your Easter celebrations this long weekend, and I promise your family will go back for seconds. No extra custard is needed, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream won’t hurt.

Ingredients:

  • 500ml (2 cups) cream
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • about 15ml finely grated orange rind
  • 5ml ground mixed spice  (a mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
  • 6-8 hot cross buns (I chose ones with added pecans & cranberries)
  • 80-100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream, milk, sugar, eggs, orange rind and mixed spice. Whisk to combine thoroughly, and to make sure the sugar has melted.
  2. Cut each hot cross bun in half horizontally, then arrange the bottom halves inside a medium size deep baking dish. They should fit snugly, so cut them to size if needed.
  3. Pour the custard mixture over the bun bottoms, so that they are just covered with the mixture, then sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. Now arrange the top halves of the buns on top of the bottom layer, pressing down gently, and pour the rest of the custard mixture over the buns until you almost reach the rim of the baking dish (you might still have some custard mixture left, wait for the buns to soak up some of it, then pour over some more). Sprinkle with the rest of the chocolate.
  4. Let the pudding soak for 30-60 minutes, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 C for 55-60 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and the middle should still have a slight wobble to it. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Chocolate peanut butter sundae with cheat’s roasted banana ice cream

15 Apr

Chocolate peanut butter sundae with extra hazelnuts and a quick roasted banana ice cream (photography  by Daniela Zondagh)

Chocolate peanut butter sundae with extra hazelnuts and a quick roasted banana ice cream (photography by Daniela Zondagh)

Woolworths recently approached me to become involved with their very exciting Flavour Society campaign (#wwflavoursociety), where the flavour of the month is chocolate. Check out their amazing pin board this month on Pinterest.

As a part of this campaign, they asked me to develop a special recipe of my choice using chocolate. Seeing that I’m already a sucker for all things cocoa, there was no problem in finding inspiration. I thought about doing a chocolate cake, or maybe a chocolate terrine. Or what about some chocolate truffles? It had to be something that really tickled my emotional connection with chocolate, and maybe something that brought back some sweet childhood memories – an easy recipe with maximum results and instant drool-worthy craving satisfaction. So I decided to make a chocolate sundae. When last did you have one?

As an adult, I don’t order a chocolate sundae very often these days. But if someone would offer it to me, there’s just no way of saying no. In fact, now that I think of it, it’s probably the best way of ending any dinner – offering your guests something that would make them feel like kids again.

So here’s a recipe for some of the best chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce you’ll ever taste, plus a recipe for making your own cheat’s versions of roasted banana ice cream using real bananas, brown sugar, and a tub of store-bought vanilla ice cream. Add as many extra chopped nuts, fresh banana, pieces of fudge or whipped cream as you want. It’s going to be a messy, happy, affair – I can promise you that. I’ll be the one drinking the sauce from the jug.

Warm chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce - good enought to eat from the pot! (photography by Daniela Zondagh)

Warm chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce – good enought to eat from the pot! (photography by Daniela Zondagh)

Chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce:

Serves 6

  • 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter
  • 250ml (1 cup) cream
  • 45ml (3 Tbsp) golden syrup
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) butter
  • a pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove top, then stir regularly until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth and glossy. Use a wire whisk right at the end to whisk the mixture vigorously if it still looks grainy – it should be totally smooth.

Cheat’s roasted banana ice-cream:

Serves 6

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) demerara sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 litres store-bought vanilla ice cream

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Peel the bananas and half them lengthways. Place the bananas on the lined baking tray and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 10 minutes at 220C, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. In the meantime, take the ice-cream out of the fridge to become soft – about 30 minutes.
  3. When the bananas are cool, transfer the bananas to a blending cup and use a stick blender (or food processor) to blend to a smooth pulp.
  4. Transfer the ice cream to a large mixing bowl and add the banana pulp. Mix thoroughly, then return to the ice-cream container and refreeze for a few hours until it is hard enough to serve with an ice-cream scoop.

For assembling the sundae:

Makes 6 large sundaes

  • 1 batch chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce, warmed
  • 1 batch cheat’s roasted banana ice cream (or your favourite flavour store-bought ice cream)
  • about 250g roasted nuts (I used hazelnuts, but peanuts also work very well)

Method:

In a tall glass or dessert bowl, place some nuts at the bottom, then follow with a scoop of ice-cream, more nuts, and more ice cream. Top with hot chocolate sundae sauce and more chopped nuts. Serve immediately. The sauce will get thick and fudgy when left to cool on top of the ice-cream.

Peach galette

28 Feb

Seasonal peach galette with vanilla ice cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Today is the last official day of summer in SA, so I’m going to sneak in one last sunny recipe. When summer fruit is abundant, there’s just no better way to use them than in a rustic French fruit galette (or crostata, like the Italians call it). The pastry is buttery and flaky, the fruit is tender and intense, and the result is just so much more than the sum of its original parts.

To make this galette even tastier, I make a batch of almond paste (marzipan) and coarsely grate this over the prepared pastry base before arranging the fruit. This adds a delicious soft and gooey aspect to the tart, as well as that almond flavour that I love so much. If you don’t like almonds, you can leave this out completely.

The recipe for the pastry comes from one of my food icons, Ina Garten. She had a specialty food store called The Barefoot Contessa for many years (now also the name of her famous American TV show), and baked hundreds of crostatas in her years. I love the texture of this pastry and didn’t want to change a thing about it. Ina’s recipe makes enough for two delicious galettes, so you can freeze the second half for another time if you like.

Pastry: (makes 2 standard sized galettes)

(Recipe for pastry by Ina Garten)

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 250 g cold butter, diced
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) ice water

Almond paste: (enough for 2 galettes)

  • 100 g (250 ml) ground almonds
  • 250 ml icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 egg white (large egg)

Filling: (enough for 2 galettes)

  • 1 egg, lightly whisked (for brushing)
  • 6 large cling peaches, peeled and sliced (pits removed) – or use any other seasonal fruit except strawberries and bananas
  • 15-30 ml cinnamon sugar

Method:

For the pastry: Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the iced water all at once while the motor is running. As soon as the dough starts to come together, remove it from the bowl onto a floured surface. Press into a disk shape, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the almond paste: Place all the ingredients together in a food processor. Process until it comes together into a ball (add more icing sugar if your mixture is too sticky). Remove and refrigerate (for at least an hour) in an airtight plastic bowl.

To assemble: Pre-heat oven to 220 C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of about 5 mm. Transfer carefully onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush the top of the pastry with egg, leaving a 3cm border around the edges. Coarsely grate the almond paste all over the brushed egg pastry surface, then cover with peach slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before serving with vanilla ice cream (serve hot or at room temperature).

 Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Prop Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Brown sugar & espresso pavlova with figs and nuts

6 Jan

Brown sugar and espresso pavlova with seasonal fruit, nuts & honey (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

It’s no secret that I love to serve pavlova as a festive dessert. I just love the look of the large lavish meringue, crisp on the outside and puffy like a cloud on the inside. It never seems to shake he wow factor either – people are just amazed by it.

The other up-side is that it doesn’t feel like a heavy ending to an extended festive meal. It just melts in your mouth, and along with some tart fresh seasonal fruit (which sometimes steal the show on their own) it’s the perfect dessert.

For an extra special end to a summery dinner, I love to make this brown sugar & espresso pavlova topped with Greek yoghurt & cream and then some figs, berries, toasted nuts and a good drizzle of dark honey. The brown sugar and espresso turns the white meringue into a pale brown pearly beauty, a nice twist on a classic favourite. I use a mixture of Greek yoghurt and cream to top the meringue, and the best seasonal fruit and berries that I can find. Although berries and figs can be quite expensive these days, keep in mind that the rest of this dessert is fairly cheap, so don’t be afraid to spend a little more on the fruit.

Ingredients for meringue:

  • 6 XL egg whites
  • 500 g light brown sugar
  • 5 ml caramel essence (optional)
  • 15 ml instant espresso powder (not ground beans!)
  • 15 ml sherry vinegar
  • 15 ml corn flour (Maizena)

Method:

  1. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl, then whisk with an electrical whisk until it starts to form soft white peaks. Start adding the sugar  gradually, just a bit at a time, and keep whisking until all of the sugar is incorporated, whisking for another few minutes until you have a thick glossy mixture.
  2. Add the caramel essence, espresso powder, vinegar and corn flour, then whisk for another minute to mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray, then gently spread it into a circular shape of about 23 cm diametre. Smooth the top slightly – it really doesn’t have to be perfect!
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 150 C, then turn down the oven to 120 C and bake for a further 1h15min. Turn off the oven and leave to cool completely, preferable overnight (without opening the door).
  5. To assemble, remove the baking paper and place the meringue on a serving platter.
  6. Whisk the cream until it holds shape, then fold in the Greek yoghurt. Spread this mixture gently over the top of the meringue.
  7. Arrange fruit on top, add chopped nuts and drizzle with honey. Slice and serve immediately.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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