I’ve wanted to make pavlova since the first time I saw Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, make individual versions on one of her shows. I thought my recent Afternoon Tea was a good time to try them out. Once I started looking at recipes I decided to use Giada DeLaurentiis’ recipe for the meringues and Martha Stewart’s recipe for a rhubarb topping, although I skipped the pistachios.
The recipe for the meringue shells is basically the same you’d use for meringue cookies. The shells are sweet and a little bit addicting. Using slightly sweetened, tart-by-nature rhubarb for the “fruit” topping (technically rhubarb is a vegetable) provides a nice balance for this dessert.
While pavlova looks impressive, this dessert is easy to make. You need to plan enough time for the meringue shells to bake and then cool (about 4 hours after they’ve been mixed and formed). You can also make one large pavlova then slice it into wedges for serving.
Again, this is a recipe where all the components can be made ahead and the final dessert quickly assembled just before serving.
- Meringue shells
- Fresh fruit or fruit compote for the topping
- Whipped heavy cream
I served these fun little tarts as part of an Afternoon Tea menu a couple of weeks ago. I’ll post the full menu for the Tea soon but wanted to start with this recipe.
If using candied lemon slices for garnish make them at least 1 day prior. The curd can be made 2 or 3 days before use and refrigerated until needed. The shells can be baked a day or two ahead of time and then stored in an airtight container until needed.
The curd recipe makes more than two cups, which is enough for several small tarts, depending on the size of your shells. I made about a dozen 2″ tartlets and still had curd to use for other things.
Candied Lemon and Tangerine Slices
Use this recipe or something similar to make candied lemon or lemon and tangerine slices for garnish. Note that they need several hours to dry. Store in the refrigerator after drying.
Purchase pre-made or make 2″ – 3″ tart shells. Dock them, then bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
2 extra-large eggs
4 extra-large egg yolks (save the whites for another use)
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)*
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest the 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. If you are using a Microplane or similar zester you can put the zest directly into your mixing bowl with the sugar and butter. If you are using a peeler to zest the lemons, first add the zest with the sugar to a food processor and process until the zest is tiny. Then cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture.
Mix in the eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined. The mixture will look curdled.
Pour the mixture into a 3 quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (to keep a skin from forming on the top) and cool or refrigerate.
* You can be creative with the citrus juice. Use all lemon or other type of citrus (lime or tangerine, for instance) or mix different types together. For instance I used mostly lemon with about 2 – 3 tablespoons of tangerine juice for this version.
Lemon Curd Tartlets
Fill each baked shell with 2 to 3 tablespoons of curd – just until the curd is nearly level with the top of the shell.
Cut the candied citrus slices into quarters and garnish each tartlet with 1 or 2 pieces.
I’ve always understood why food critics visit a place several times before they report on it. And my recent experience shows that’s a good idea.
I first visited Crumble & Flake on a midweek morning, although not at opening by any means. I’d heard tons of great things about them and one bad thing – that they generally ran out of pastries fairly early in the day. Still, I wasn’t expecting the veritable wasteland of emptiness I encountered that morning. I picked out three of the remaining six macarons and another cookie/cake thing which I think they call a Cheweo. I felt bad for the woman behind the counter who apologized for the limited selection. I hoped that no one had or would give her grief as she stood behind the all but empty case, probably wishing the last few things would sell so she could go home.
I wasn’t really impressed with anything I purchased that morning. The filling of the macarons was too sweet; the cookies and filling seemed to have become so integrated that there was no ending/beginning between them. So I went away thinking I couldn’t really say if I liked the patisserie or not but it didn’t seem worth the effort to make a trip to Capitol Hill to try again.
Fast forward several months later. I was wandering around Capitol Hill this past weekend and happened to walk right by Crumble & Flake. I almost walked by without stopping – I think it was around 10:00 am and I didn’t want to face empty cases again. But I changed my mind and popped in. While the display cases were not overflowing there was a broader selection this time and even some backup on rolling racks behind the cases!
The first thing I noticed were the canalé. The only other place in Seattle I know carries them is Honoré in Ballard. The last time I tried to buy them at Honoré I arrived too early in the day and they weren’t available yet. The time before the line was about 1000 people long, although that might be a slight exaggeration… Anyway, at Crumble & Flake right there in front of me was a tray with several canalé calling my name. And they had a tray of beautiful cinnamon rolls, too. I exited with one cinnamon roll and three canalé. I had a hard time waiting to get home!
Over the last few months it seems I’ve been spending time at home or running back and forth to Oregon for family obligations. I have managed to get out and about a few times, though, and here are a few notes about Citizen, The Whale Wins, Bar Sajor and Bar Cotto.
This little coffee shop/restaurant/soon-to-be-bar (depending on time of day) is tucked into a side street on Lower Queen Anne. I was in the area for a class in early March and wandered over for lunch during our break. Luckily it was one of those unseasonably warm days because the place was packed! I grabbed a table outside but soon those tables filled, too. I chose a Black Forest Ham crepe for my lunch. The server and I had a little miscommunication so it arrived topped with the optional fried egg. I didn’t really mind the egg so I kept the order and the server graciously removed the charge from my tab.
I was expecting the crepe would be warm however it was served in a traditional crepe style but was more like a wrap, with a cold filling. Once I got past the surprise all I noticed was how fresh and light it was. And the egg was a nice addition.
I’ve been back since for coffee but, again, the place was packed. There’s a seating bar that runs along the window on the first floor that’s great for grabbing a morning wake-up but it was full. Instead I sat upstairs at a communal, low table surrounded by eclectic chairs. I was the only one at the table but I felt a little like odd-man out. I’ll drop by again but only when I want a proper meal or have a friend in tow.
706 Taylor Ave. N
Lower Queen Anne
Then you might like this info from the publicist…
…We also would love to get the word out to the Seattle community so that they can come eat at each restaurant during the shooting of the re-launch episodes. They can request a reservation by emailing email@example.com for Yanni’s and firstname.lastname@example.org for Prohibition Grille. Please note they will be responsible for paying for their own meals and beverages.
Episode 1- Yanni’s Greek Restaurant
7419 Greenwood Avenue North, Seattle, WA
Re-launch of Yanni’s on 12/2 (dinner service at about 6:30 PM)
Note: they are taking reservations at email@example.com
Episode 2- Prohibition Grille
1414 Hewitt Avenue, Everett, WA 98201
Re-launch of Prohibition Grille on 12/6 (dinner service at about 6:30 PM)
Note: they are taking reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m just back from two weeks in Morocco! I’ve been fascinated by Moroccan food and culture and have wanted to go for years. In fact, when I hosted the very first cooking club meeting the theme I chose was Morocco.
The trip was really fun. I decided for my first visit I would join up with a tour (something I’ve never done before) so that I could make sure I understood customs before venturing out on my own. In most ways this was a very good choice and it also allowed me to see much more of the country than I would have on my own. However, it did have a little of the “If this is Tuesday it Must be Belgium” sort of feel to it.
Before leaving on the trip I’d already begun planning a Moroccan dinner that I’d have when I returned. Since we are rushing into the holidays the dinner will be in January and that allows me time to make a batch of preserved lemons, an ingredient found throughout Moroccan cuisine.
Although you can buy preserved lemons, they are really easy to make, you just need a little time to let the process work. I’m using the recipe from Paula Wolfert’s The Food of Morocco. If you have access to Meyer lemons, use them. They are similar to lemons found in Morocco.
5 organic lemons, scrubbed and dried
About ⅓ cup kosher salt
½ to 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (3 to 4 additional lemons)
Soften the lemons by rolling them back and forth on a counter or cutting board. Quarter the lemons from the top to within ¼ inch of their bottoms. Generously sprinkle salt on all the exposed flesh, then reshape the fruit. Pack into a glass jar, pushing them down and adding more salt between each layer. Top with more lemon juice, making sure the fruit is completely covered. Leave some air space before sealing the jar.
Allow the lemons to ripen in a warm place (the countertop is fine) for 30 days. Every few days turn the jar upside down to distribute the salt and juice. If necessary, open the jar and add more juice to keep the lemons covered.
After 30 days store the lemons in the refrigerator where they will keep up to one year.
To use the lemons, pull one out of the jar and rinse it under cold, running water. Remove and discard the pulp unless the recipe specifically calls for it. Generally you’ll only use the rind.
Before I dive into the information about Oyster New Year, I want to mention how much I like the remodel of Elliott’s Cafe, formerly known as Steamers Seafood Cafe. The physical changes were fairly minor, but the result is a cozy spot, window seating with views of either the street or the pier and a tiny bar. Stop by and check it out, if you haven’t yet seen the changes. I didn’t actually sample their new menu, but Elliott’s Oyster House has great food and the cafe shares the same executive chef so I’m sure it’s delicious.
Now on to the main topic!
Thursday night Elliott’s hosted an Oyster New Year preview party at Elliott’s Cafe. What is Oyster New Year, you may ask? As the waters of the Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean cool back down after the summer, shellfish enter their prime. You’ll see a few restaurants around town celebrate this in different ways. Elliott’s has the biggest celebration, though, with 44 days of festivities including the big Oyster New Year Bash on November 3rd. Besides being a fun way to enjoy our local seafood, the really great thing about these events is that they benefit the Puget Sound Restoration Fund.
Those of you who live in the Northwest know that our summer was late to arrive and gardens were slow to take off. Some things performed better than others. My green beans and kale were great; my eggplants are still teeny-tiny. I had tons of peppers but they are smallish, which still works. I had a hard time keeping basil alive for much of the summer. The tomatoes finally really started coming on in September and have been going pretty strong ever since. I picked this batch this morning – wanted to get them in before the rain starts in earnest and they split.
The yellow tomatoes are called Golden Rave. I’ve grown them the last few years and they are a great performer! Normally they ripen fairly early since they are a smaller tomato. They are sweet and thin-skinned – great for everything from salads to roasted tomato soup. In the back are San Marzanos. They are the ones I generally preserve for use later in the winter. In the front are a couple of Brandywines. A really great tasting and beautiful tomato but they need a decent summer to really produce. I got quite a few this year but there are a lot of green ones still on the vine.
My tomato season was late but I sure am enjoying it now!
It’s soup time! Although the fall weather here in Seattle is still fairly warm and sunny, the shadows are long and there’s a tinge of crispness in the air, even in late afternoon. The perfect remedy for the cooling weather is soup.
If you’ve been to your local farmers’ market lately you’ll have seen the piles of winter squash – so many beautiful shapes and colors! I love to use it many ways but the following recipe is one of my favorites. Once you have the pumpkin roasted, it comes together in a snap. It’s just as good on day two or three, as the first day, and it freezes well. You’ll see some ranges in the ingredients list. The instructions include how to choose the amount you need.