RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Bruschetta

Grilled Chicken Breasts and Tomato Mix Bruschetta

We had a nice break in weather yesterday afternoon and T decided he would grill chicken breasts.  It has been weeks since our last barbecue.   I put the chicken breasts to marinate before he changed his mind.  First I crushed some garlic and in a zip lock bag I put some olive oil, the crushed garlic, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a mix of herbs: oregano, sage, and a little parsley.  A couple of shakes of smoked paprika and mixed it up and added the chicken breasts.

I decided it was time we could use some of our cherry tomatoes that I had frozen last summer.  I have been saving what was left of them for exclusive uses… celebrating that spring is springing and that we had some sun and would be having a grilled meal seemed special enough.  I would use a third of them and hideaway the rest for a couple of other exceptional meals for their use.

T cut up the veggies for the bruschetta: red and yellow cherry tomatoes, red onion, green and black onions.  While he was busy chopping I cut the French Bread down the middle and put some butter on to melt adding a small clove of well minced garlic and some fresh dried parsley to the butter.  Once the butter had melted and had simmered just a bit I spread it on half of the bread.  T was through with the veggies about the same time.  We misted the veggies with just a little olive oil and sprinkled some seasoning on them (basically the same mix as I had just put in the marinade for the chicken.) 

While I was broiling the bread and veggies… I decided to throw together a quick apple salad… T was getting the grill ready.  I waited until the chicken on the grill was about finished to add the broiled veggies to the bread and topped it off with some shredded Apple Smoked Gruyère Cheese.  About the time he was coming in with the grilled chicken breasts, that smelled like heaven I put the bruschetta under the broiler to melt the cheese some, just to add a little color.

The meal took no time at all to come together and it was delicious.  All the blends from grilled chicken, the seasonings and the wonderful little tomatoes, crusty bread were a wonderful blend of flavors and textures that we both enjoyed immensely.  The leftovers would be really good tomorrow….

Taken last summer by one of my deck gardens

Kippered Salmon Bruschetta with Potato and Grilled Corn Chowder

This is a post I wrote several months ago and forgot about, hope you enjoy, the chowder was delicious as was the Kippered Salmon Bruschetta.

It has been a couple of days of cool wet weather; the summer season has come to an abrupt ending here in the Northwest.   Drizzle with rain off and off for the last few days have called for soup chowder for dinner.

We have plenty of Yukon potatoes and one ear of corn that can be put to good use, and too  will add a lone carrot  found in the crisper.  I decided to make a thick chowder for dinner.  Would grill the corn… that would add another level of flavor to the mix.

Diced up the potatoes and put all but about a cup into the pan.  Cover with water and add a pinch of salt.  Then take the left over cup of potatoes and put them in another saucepan and add one carrot that has been sliced.  A few minutes into the boil add about one half cup of frozen pearl onions.

Spray some olive oil on the corn and put it on the grill to cook.  Once it is showing grill marks rotate and grill until all sides done.  Then cut the corn from the cob and add it when  adding the half and half to the chowder.

When the first pot of potatoes are finished drain almost all the liquids off and mash them up good then add the mix of potatoes, carrots and onions with some of the liquid from that pot.  Then add the half and half to cover plus about an inch.  Now put the readied grilled corn into the mix.  Sprinkle the chowder with a little dill, fresh ground pepper, a little garlic powder and parsley.  Let it simmer on low for just a few minutes and it is done.

It was a very easy and quick chowder that is thickened with its own potatoes.  I do two separate batches of potatoes so will know just how many potatoes are mashed and also I do not accidentally mash any of the carrots and onions this way.

I normally would add some bacon pieces or pancetta or even a few pieces of ham, but tonight we would be having some Kippered Salmon Bruschetta as the side.

Buzz, one of T friends that is a part of the fishing season has been giving us some wonderful veggies from his garden.  Lots of wonderful home-grown tomatoes, there is cherry/plum of red and yellow and so many varieties of tomatoes in all sizes and shapes.   I actually did some pickled cherry tomatoes with one batch he gave us, one of these days I will get it posted.

Take about a dozen tomatoes and cut them up into nice size pieces and put them into a saucepan and add just a bit of water, not much, the tomatoes will have enough of their own juices after just a little bit of time.  Add four sliced cloves of garlic and just a little sea salt and pepper for now.  Once I had them reduced down (this took several hours) to very little juice (it is very thick and has lots of nice chunks of tomatoes) I added about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a little dill to the pot.  Ladle out about two tablespoons of the thick juice into a little dish and add about the same in olive oil to the juice.   This I would use to brush on the baguette slices before they are put on the grill.  It was already hot from grilling the corn.   Oil the grill a little to keep the baguettes slices from sticking.  This took not much more than a minute to have them all grilled.

Shred some Havarti Dill Cheese and mix with some sour cream… add just a pinch of dill and smoked paprika… you only want enough sour cream to be able to mix.  Take the cheese slicer and slice a few thin slices of the Havarti Dill Cheese to use on the bruschetta too.  On some of the pieces of grilled baguettes put the tomatoes mix and then add sliced Havarti Dill cheese and top with Kippered Salmon.  On the rest  spread the Havarti Dill Spread and put bean sprouts (I only had the large size and they needed to be used, I prefer the small sprouts instead.)  Then top them with Kippered Salmon.

It was amazing to have the chowder that warmed my bones and the bruschetta was really magnificent,  my favorite was the mix with the bean sprouts it added a new depth and the flavor was incredible….

Spinach, Cherry Tomato, Feta Bruschetta with Blackberry Balsamic Syrup

 

One of the things I dearly love to start a dinner party with is Bruschetta, it always brings with it conversation.  Happy conversation with lots of explicatory expressions and too the added wonderful ooh’s and aah’s!  It makes me feel so good!   The variables are as many as you could possibly think up and then add some more.  It is one of those things that goes well with wine and most any kind of drink before dinner.  It is also good as part of a dinner, I love it with a salad or soup… it is as endless of what you can serve this with as the variables of how to make Bruschetta.  I also have been known to eat just Bruschetta when I do not have an appetite, almost always it is just what I needed.

Lemon-Garlic-Herb Dressing   

     Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon mix of chopped basil, oregano, thyme (this can be one or a mix of all three or even other herbs… your choice I prefer to use fresh, but you can use dried, just remember it does not take as much they are more intense in flavor!)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice (I go very light on the lemon mix because of using the blackberry balsamic vinegar later, just a hint)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Flake Sea Salt to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

I put all the ingredients in a pint size jar with a tight-fitted lid and shake thoroughly.  I usually have some in the refrigerator or make this the morning I need.

I learned something as a young bride.  I had no idea about herbs… fresh or died.  I was finally enlightened… if you did not know about how much seasoning  to add…  then to your mix add just a pinch and taste, you will know if you want more or not and add a pinch more and taste just remember you can never take away a herb once it is added.  I did a lot of pinching and tasting those first few years!

For the spinach, tomato, red onion topping:

       Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups of assorted cherry tomatoes – I used red and yellow that I had on hand, halved (I quarter if large)
  • ½ small red onion sliced in ½ inch length about half that width
  • Fresh Basil or Oregano, Thyme (your choice, or even something else)
  • One loaf of Ciabatta Bread (I like to cut about 3-4 inch squares and then cut diagonally
  • One garlic clove peeled and halved
  • 3 Cups of steamed (de-stemmed) spinach
  • Feta Cheese
  • Black Berry Balsamic Vinegar

 

Black Berry Balsamic Vinegar

     Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar

Put vinegars in sauce pot and bring to boil, reduce to simmer and reduce by half.  It should have a nice thickened-syrup consistency, will lightly cover a spoon.  Let cool and pour into a cruet or small pitcher.  You could also use one of the plastic dispensing bottles (it makes it easier-less messy to drizzle the blackberry balsamic Syrup on the Bruschetta.)

Combine the halved-quartered tomatoes, red onion, and drizzle with the Lemon-Garlic Herb Dressing, set aside and let set at room temperature. You can make this in the morning, just refrigerate.  Preheat oven to 400˚when you are ready to bake-roast the tomatoes and red onions.

Steam the spinach.  Get the Ciabatta Bread sliced and take the halved garlic and rub on the top of each slice of bread.  Place the tomato mix on jelly roll pan, I sprinkle a little of the herb mix and just a pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper on the tomato mix (does not take much you have already added to the tomatoes with the herb dressing.)  Place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the skinned are starting to get browned and blistered, take out of oven.

Dip the jelly roll pan until the tomato-juices mixed with the Lemon-Garlic Herb Dressing has went to the one end of the pan.  I set the tomato end of the pan at an angle on a folded pot holder so the juices kind of stay at the other end of pan.  I then take a pastry brush and brush each piece of the garlic-ciabatta bread with the tomato juices.  Place bread under broiler until the bread is nicely toasted.  Lay jelly roll pan with tomato mix flat so the juices blend again.

Put a layer of steamed spinach on the toasted ciabatta bread.  Top with some of the roasted tomatoes and onions.  Scatter some of the feta cheese on top, and then drizzle each with blackberry balsamic syrup.

Roasting the tomatoes concentrates their flavor and intensifies the taste with the lemon-garlic herb dressing adding to that blend the flavor of the feta cheese and the topper of all this is the blackberry balsamic vinegar, what a wonderful mix, united it is a fusion of nothing but pure ecstasy… definitely over the top!  It makes such a wonderful pairing of the whole and makes it so easy to savor every bite… it wakens up your taste buds from first bite.  This is something that I love to serve knowing full well that the instant my guests start eating I can see on their faces what they think of this Bruschetta….

Fettuccini w/ Tomato Bruschetta, Chicken and Spinach

 

 

This dish came about because I had some left over Double Tomato Bruschetta from dinner the other night.   I did not want it to go to waste and had a part of a pint of Cherry Tomatoes that needed to be used.  I too knew there was at least one grilled Chicken breast in the freezer that could be used.  Will not need a trip to the market, I am glad.  It will be a quick and easy dinner that I know will be enjoyable, I am already enjoying knowing that it will not be much work and quick cleanup. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes (it need not be a pint, and you do not need to add these unless you want, it does add a lot of flavor and color to the dish, if not using you can add more canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Diced cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Parsley
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 ½ Cups Tomato Juice
  • 1~2 Precooked Chicken Breasts
  • 1 ½ Cups Striped Fresh Spinach
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, Sea Salt to taste
  • Fettuccini Noodles ~ how many are you feeding?
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Parmesan and Romano Cheese Blend

I put the garlic cloves in the mini food processor and pulsed until they were pretty well diced up.   I added the cherry tomatoes that I had and pulsed until they were diced well.  What a beautiful color this makes all natural.  I put this in my Windsor pan on low heat and added the tomato juice, can of diced tomatoes, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes and the left over Bruschetta.  I added the freshly ground black pepper and a little sea salt to taste.  I put it on low heat and simmered for around 30 or so minutes. 

The garlic was very fragrant and the juice was cooked down by half.  I pulled my chicken meat into larger pieces (As you can see in the picture I added the chicken too soon it ended up shredded instead, next time I will remember to add them just in time to heat through good, too, sometimes I will put the meat in a steam basket and steam it until hot and then add at the last minute.  This method is good for two reasons, one it stays in the size pieces you want and if there is any grease, fat on it will melt into the water in the bottom of the pan and with the chicken above the water in the basket it makes it grease free) and the spinach I have ready to add at the last minute.  Chicken is already cooked and the spinach only takes a couple of short minutes to be done.  When the sauce has reduced by half I will put on the water for the noodles and I cook per directions of package. 

Once the noodles have only a couple of minutes (I then will add the steamed hot chicken) and spinach to the tomato sauce.  Put lid on so that everything is heated through and the steam it makes will cook the spinach.

Once all is done I drained the noodles and placed a serving on plate and added the sauce.  I put a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese blend on top and dinner was ready.

This was a quick dinner that packed a significant amount of flavor and to top it off I used up all the food that needed to be eaten…. 

Valentine Dinner Menu of Roasted Lola Duck ~ Pavlova

 

 

Roasted Lola Duck, Potatoes and Carrots with

     Sage, Blood Orange and Blackberry Glaze Sauce

 
     

 

 

The Valentine Dinner turned out fantastic with a group of amazing friends.  Nothing was meant to be fancy, just wanted it to be a good home cooked meal.  Being together as one with good food that was (in the end) superb without a lot of work is everything a cook could ask for.   All of it was full of flavor and just good old home cooking.  I did this over a few days, working on different dishes for a few hours each day and in the end it did not feel as though it had been a lot of work. 

Anytime I want to roast meat I almost always turn to a cookbook that I have had for several years.  It is called Roasting A Simple Art’ by Barbara KafkaIt is an amazing cookbook.   I have used her recipes and tips more times than not when I have a special meal to prepare. 

I agree with Barbara Kafka that those of us who like duck love the old-fashioned, simple, crisp roasted duck.   She poaches the duck before roasting and it eliminates most of the fat from under the skin.  She uses high-heat roasting to complete the duck.  Poaching and then roasting does keep it from getting dried and stringy and the end results are you do have a nice broth after simmering it. 

 

For Simmering:

  • One duck, cut wing tips and add to pan
  • Duck Neck
  • Any giblets and such you have add to the pot
  • I added thawed duck stock and bones from my freezer and then added enough water to cover duck by an inch or:
  • Chicken stock if using (enough to cover duck by an inch)
  • 2 Quartered onion
  • 2-3 Crushed cloves of garlic
  • 3 or so large carrots chopped into large pieces
  • 3 or so stalks of celery chopped into large pieces

Into a small stock pot (with one duck you do not need a big pan and this makes for better stock) I added the neck, wing tips and a couple of quartered onions, a couple of crushed cloves of garlic, three large carrots chopped into large pieces, and a couple of stalks of celery chopped into large pieces.   I only added the veggies because I would need to add a little water and wanted more flavor for my stock.  I could have used chicken stock with the duck stock so I had enough fluids to simmer Lola in but decided on the veggies with the water instead.   I now added my thawed duck bones and duck stock from my freezer to the pan.  At this time, if you have any giblets and such add them to the pot, they give so much more added flavor.    I then placed Lola in the pot once everything started to boil.   Making sure the duck stayed submerged under the fluids, I placed a heavy plate on top of the duck when I added it to the pot; I checked it often to make sure she stayed submerged.  When Lola came to a boil I turned the heat down and simmered her for around 45 minutes. 

I spooned off about one tablespoon of fat from pot and I spread this in the roasting pan.   Now I spooned off as much of the fat in the pan as I could.   I removed the plate (or whatever you used to weigh the duck down with) and I then spooned as much of the floating fat that was left in the pot as I could.   I removed Lola from pan and drained (hold the duck over the stock pot and drain all the liquids from her cavity.) I then patted the duck dry and sat her in the roasting pan at room temperature.   I salted and peppered to taste and pressed them gently into the skin.   Be careful, she is hot and the skin is tender.     I let Lola sit and rest in the roasting pan at room temperature for about thirty minutes; this dries the skin out some.   You can roast the duck now or do as I am doing, she will sit in the bottom of my refrig until tomorrow.   I let the temp of her come down before putting in refrig. 

I placed Lola lightly covered in the bottom my refrigerator; she will continue to dry out some more.  I will take the covering off mid- morning or later and let dry in refrig until just before I am ready to roast.  I then stained the stock twice making sure that it was completely clear and placed in refrigerator too.  This makes it easy for me and there is not as much work if you divide it up some.

 

For Roasting:

To roast preheat to 425 degrees 

  • Lola 
  • 2 quartered blood oranges 
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic  
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste 

I got Lola out of refrig and left her on the counter to come to room temp.  I removed the broth from refrig and spooned off all congealed-hardened fat.  This can be frozen to be used for roasting veggies and such in the future.  I only saved a small portion of the duck fat.   I pre freeze in small teaspoon drops and once frozen put in a container in the freezer and then I can get just what I need when needed.  This is only used for special treats and such, I would not recommend duck fat on a daily basis for anyone.

I preheated the oven to 425 degrees.  I put into Lola’s cavity a couple of blood oranges sliced in quarters and the crushed garlic cloves.  I cooked her on the second level from bottom; I have a convection oven so it cooked differently than a regular oven.  After 10 minutes or so, I started to spoon out the fat that accumulates in the bottom of the pan.  Be very careful, this is very hot; I take the duck out of the oven to do this.  At this time move the duck around a bit to keep it from sticking to the pan. 

I roasted Lola around 45 or so minutes, each duck weighs differently.  When the juices were running clear she was done, for me anyway. 

Roasting Veggies:

Roast at 425 degrees ~ same as duck

The amount depends on how many are sitting at your table.  I get these ready before getting Lola out of the refrigerator.  It makes it easier when you do a small amount of the work at a time. 

  • Fingerlings if you have them if not ~ I used Yukon Gold quartered
  • Whole small carrots
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste  

I had Yukon Gold so this is what I used.   I quartered the Yukon Gold and washed and scrubbed the carrots. I put them in a plastic bag with less than a teaspoon of the grease from cooking duck.  I shook the bag until all were covered with a little of the fat.  I placed them in a shallow pan, put a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper on them and put in oven with duck.  I turned them every 10 minutes or so, they would not get burned and or stuck to pan (can be done as you spoon the grease from duck pan.)  They are done when tender, depending on temp of oven and size of veggies and how many you are roasting can be anywhere from 35-40 minutes give or take.  They are golden, delicious and the duck fat gives them a wonderful flavor without being greasy.  It takes very little fat to cover the veggies especially when you do it with the bag.  You only get what you want. 

Once Lola is done let her rest on counter for a few minutes before slicing.

I made a gravy/sauce from: about ¾ to 1 cup of duck broth.

 Sage, Blood Orange and Blackberry Glaze-Gravy-Sauce 

  • ¾-1 cup of broth
  • 2 Sage leaves
  • Add the Blood oranges and garlic used in cavity of duck
  • 1blood orange cut into wedges
  • 6-10 blackberries
  • Cornstarch ½ to 1 teaspoon

The amount of broth depends on how many are eating.  You would have to change amount of cornstarch to be used up or down depending on amount of broth being used.  Too, increase the number of blood oranges and blackberries needed to be about equal to the amount of broth.  Heat the broth and add the blood oranges and garlic from the duck cavity.  Now you add the slices of the blood oranges and the blackberries and bring to boil and then turn heat down a little for a few minutes.  Let it reduce just a little.  Remove the orange slices, blackberries, and garlic and squeeze them through strainer and put just the juice back in the broth.  Mix cornstarch with a little cooled broth and add to the pan whisking constantly for a couple of minutes, you do not want to taste raw cornstarch.   Keep temp at a beginning boil until thickened.  Remove from heat.  This sauce is very similar to the old fashioned raisin sauce my mom use to make. 

Serve over sliced duck or can be put in individual little sauce cups for dipping.

Save all bones and the broth and freeze for use another time.  I will be making a simple Roasted Duck Soup for tomorrow evenings meal with some of the broth and a little bag of left over duck already in the freezer from our last duck.  (All duck products from my freezer were leftover from a dinner at a friend’s house, her insisting I take home with me.  What a nice treat! )    Adding the stock from previous roasts each time you roast duck makes for a delicious future combo of anything you can possibly cook up! ….

 Steamed Baby Spinach with Pearl Onions and Almond Slivers

  • Spinach ~ amount you would need for how many you are feeding 
  • Pearl Onions ~ For this I use the frozen Pearl Onions, amount by how many you are feeding
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Slivered Almonds  

I put spinach mixed with the pearl onion in steamer and steam for a few minutes and turn then turn off heat.  Do not left lid, the steam will finish the spinach to a nice crispness without being overdone.  I put it in a dish and did a slight trickle of Pomegranate Balsamic.  Scatter slivered almonds on top of spinach.  It was perfect.  Spinach is one of my favorite veggies….

    

 

 

Bruschetta for Sliced Baguettes:

Since I had the pates’ it made my work of preparing the different appetizers’ that much easier.  All I had to do was put out some different crackers and I mixed some nuts with dried tart cherries and cranberries which were all a hit.  A few different kinds of cheeses and some grapes, with some sliced apples and I was almost finished.  I made a quick dish of double tomato for Bruschetta for the baguettes’ slices.  First I sliced the baguette at an angle.  I placed the slices on a jelly roll pan and drizzled Black Truffle Oil on and then toasted under broiler until they were getting just a little color and I then added Havarti and Dill cheese on top and broiled a little more until cheese was melted.  I did not cook too long to make them easier to spread the Bruschetta on.   Bruschetta is normally toasted after you put the tomato spread on the baguette, but with the company and the mix I decided to do it this way.  It was delicious.  

Double Tomato Bruschetta:

  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes diced (needed to be used and sure made a difference)
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 Cup of Spinach striped (when I use fresh Spinach in the bag I always remove the long stems, I wish they would do that when packaging and in the end how much do we pay for all those stems? I love it when it is season and I can grow my own)
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced really small
  • Teaspoon plus of diced Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Basil
  • ½ Teaspoon Oregano

Place all but spinach in sauce pan and bring to boil, turn down heat and cook until almost all the liquid is gone.  I stir this frequently so it does not scorch; it does easily when the liquid is almost gone.    Add the spinach and stir in and put in small dish for use.  Heat from the tomatoes will cook the spinach to the right doneness.  Delicious as a spread on baguette slices.  (It is also good on cooked Angel Hair Pasta!) This is full of flavor and color….  

 

 

 

Pavlova Nests with Pastry Cream, Fruits and Chocolate Ganache:

The evening ended with desserts of Pavlova Nests filled with pastry cream, whipped cream, strawberries, blackberries, and with a choice of chopped macadamia or pistachio nuts.  I then drizzled chocolate ganache over each nest.  There too were large strawberries dipped in chocolate ganache for those that wanted just a small taste of dessert. 

While cooking the meringue nests you do not want to open and close the oven door; the meringue nests will get cracks in them.  If you do get cracks and it bothers you, fill cracks in with whip cream later.

Meringues:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup of Castor sugar, also known as “Berry sugar” ( I did not have any Castor sugar so I made my own, I put the amount needed in regular sugar in my mini processor and processed until it was very fine, it works perfect)
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups of whipping cream

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 275F and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Trace around a circle of something that is the right size for your nests with pencil, turn paper with pencil marks underneath.  Set aside.

In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, (make sure that anything you use to make the meringues is grease free) beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.  Continue to beat the egg whites and gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time.  Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.

Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.  Put some meringue in a pastry bag with a star tip on the end.

Now gently spread the meringue in the circle on the foil to make a circular base. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center so you have a very slight well in the middle.  I use a pastry tube # 43 and put two ~ three rings of meringue around the edges of bottoms to make the nest. 

I bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it got a very light color and a slight matt finish.   Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.

I made these the day before I needed them.

Pastry Cream:

This recipe comes from Pastry Chef.  Pastry cream is a basic in a bakery, it is used in so many ways, pies, fillings add some whip cream and the lists goes on and then add nuts, fruits, it has endless possibilities. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 oz sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla or can use beans of one whole vanilla bean
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1.9 oz of cornstarch
  • 2 oz butter (unsalted)

In bowl whisk together the eggs, corn starch and the half of the sugar and vanilla.  Put aside for now. 

In heavy saucepan cook milk, half the sugar, if using vanilla bean add now, (if using vanilla it is added to egg mixture,) and salt until just below boil.

Temper the milk into the egg mixture (with whisk in hand add a little of hot milk mixture to egg mixture and whisk rapidly and constantly, add a little more of milk mixture to egg mixture ~ do this until you have added all the milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking the whole time, you do not want to cook the eggs) and then put everything back in saucepan on the stove and cook over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly and quickly, until the mixture has come to a boil, letting boil at least 30 seconds, it will be really thick.  If you undercook it, it will taste like raw starch.  Be careful while it is cooking it could bubble up and burn you.  Remove from heat and strain into a bowl.   Place plastic wrap directly on top of pastry cream.  Let cool down to refrigerate. 

I made this the night before.

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 2~3 Tablespoon of Splendid
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla

I placed my mixing bowl and whisk blade in refrig for an hour or two to chill them before making Whipped Cream. 

When ready I got my mixer ready with bowl and whisk that are now well chilled.  I poured the heavy cream into mixer bowl added the sugar and begin to beat on low with mixer for about 30 seconds or until mixed well.  I added the vanilla and increased the mixer speed to medium high. 

I then beat the cream mixture until soft peaks form.  I put the whipped cream in a pastry bag with star tip # 43 and placed in glass and then in refrigerator until I would need it.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz of Semi Sweet Chocolates Pieces
  • ¼  Cup Heavy Cream
  • ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter

Heat the butter and cream just to boil.  Pour over chocolate pieces and stir until all chocolate pieces are melted.  Pour into to squirt bottle.  Set aside until cooled to room temp.   If you need to thin this down when ready to use all you need to do is place bottle of Ganache in a glass with warm water.  It will thin out quickly.   Be sure to wipe any water off bottle, you do not want to drip water on the desserts you are making.

Strawberries, Blackberries, Macadamia, and Pistachios’:

Wash blackberries then wash and slice strawberries; they are now ready for completing the Pavlova Nests.  You can do this right before you are putting the nests together. 

Chop up the macadamia or pistachio nuts.  Put in separate bowls.

Making the Pavlova Nests:

Gently spread pastry cream to top of each nest with spatula.  Pipe the whipped cream around the edge of each nest.  Now add the sliced strawberries and arrange in a decorative pattern in pastry cream edges.   Place blackberries in center. 

Drizzle Chocolate Ganache over each of the nests.  They are now ready to serve.  Putting these together when you have everything ready takes very little time at the last minute and everyone loves them and thinks it is really hard to do. 

If I can make these anyone can.  I have a shake in my hands from a bad neck and back and they are not perfect by any means but taste just as good as if a Pastry Chef had made them….

 

 

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