Category Archives: whipped cream

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

If you’ve never had pavlova, your life summer dessert game might be about to change. This naturally gluten-free meringue cake has a crisp, glossy exterior and marshmallow-soft interior, and is a vehicle for all sorts of good things, including but not limited to whipped cream, lemon curd and fresh summer berries. It’s a perfect rustic-but-classy dessert to have in your warm weather recipe arsenal. I don’t have a roof deck or a backyard, but one day when I do, I’m going to have friends over for mocktails and pavlova all summer long, just because I can. In fact, my maternal grandparents’ backyard is the first place I ever remember eating pavlova.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

You might be wondering “Is pavlova popular in North Texas?” The answer is a hard “no.” To tell you the truth, I don’t know how my grandma learned about it, aside from the part where she just *knew* how to throw together simple dinner party foods. If she ever told me, I’ve forgotten…probably because I was trying to get a whole bunch of fruit, whipped cream and meringue in my face as efficiently as possible. My best guess is our friends-who-are-family from Australia taught her about it during one of their visits.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

So how did I go from eating pavlova exactly once during my Texan childhood to making it thirty-odd years later? Well, the answer is simple. I had leftover egg whites, a fresh jar of Lazy Lemon Curd, got a little over-ambitious with my berry purchasing, and I always have heavy cream. When life gives you those things, make Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries.

Like most things that rely whipped egg whites and sugar for structure, pavlova is incredibly simple to make. The most important step in the whole process is ensuring that your mixing bowl and mixer attachment are super clean and dry so that you end up with airy results and not sad egg white soup.

The actual work of making meringue is just gradually combining egg whites, salt, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar while your mixer works overtime to create stiff peaks. After that, form your meringue into a cake on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake it very low and slow before letting it cool completely in the oven.

Now, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that baked, cooled pavlova meringue can be made up to three days before you serve it. The bad news is that once you start piling toppings on it, your pavlova isn’t long for this world. Glossy, crisp, marshmallowy meringue is fleeting, so don’t assemble your pavlova until right before you want to serve it. But then, do it up!

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Obviously, I went the lemon curd/whipped cream/fresh berries route here, but feel free to go wild with your pavlova toppings. Change the fruit to mango, pineapple, cherries or peaches! Grate on chocolate! Scatter toasted coconut over the top! Use key lime curd in place of lemon and sprinkle crushed graham crackers on there. Key Lime Pie-vlova, anyone?!

But back to the point, which is, as always, to take my recipe and make it yours. Like I said, your life summer dessert game might be about to change.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
makes one pavlova, about 8 servings

Pavlova:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

For Assembly:
1 cup Lazy Lemon Curd or other lemon curd
2-3 cups fresh berries of choice (I used strawberries, raspberries & blueberries)

Preheat oven to 250F. Draw an 8-inch circle on a sheet of parchment big enough for a rimmed sheet pan. Turn the parchment over (so the drawn circle side is facing down) and place on the pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a separate very small bowl, combine vanilla and vinegar. Set aside.

Add egg whites and salt to a very clean, dry mixing bowl. Starting at the lowest setting and gradually ramping up to medium-high, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until foamy (about 2-3 minutes). With the mixer running, add sugar-cornstarch mixture a tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Then add the vanilla-vinegar mixture. Turn the speed up to high and whip until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).

Turn the mixture (now a meringue) out onto the prepared baking sheet, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to gently spread it to the edges of the circle. Make it taller at the edges than the center so you have a logical place for the toppings.

Place pavlova in the oven and bake for 75 minutes (1:15) until puffed, glossy, and slightly cream-colored. Turn off the oven and wedge a wooden spoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar. Let the pavlova cool completely in the oven (a couple of hours or overnight).

If not using immediately, carefully remove the pavlova from the parchment and double wrap with plastic wrap. Keep at room temperature for up to three days.

Assemble the pavlova immediately before serving. If wrapped, gently remove and discard plastic wrap. Place pavlova on a serving plate.

Make whipped cream topping. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Spread the top of the pavlova with lemon curd. Spoon/spread whipped cream over the top. Finish with berries of choice. Serve immediately.
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes

Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes​

I’m generally not a fruit and chocolate gal, but I’ll make an exception for these Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes. Made with dark chocolate biscuits, chocolate whipped cream and fresh berries, this spin on the classic dessert has “delicious” written all over it!

Getting deep chocolate flavor into these biscuits was more challenging than just adding some cocoa powder. My starting point was my five ingredient cream biscuit base, but you’ll see that I deviated pretty significantly. I added cocoa, of course, but also chopped dark chocolate, granulated espresso and brown sugar for a good bittersweet flavor. Butter and heavy cream provide just enough moisture to bind the dough. Baking powder and baking soda leaven everything and produce good crackly tops, which are made all the better with crunchy coarse sugar.

I would normally encourage you to bake your biscuits close together so that they rise up instead of out, but I prefer to bake them separately here. Because cocoa powder doesn’t play by the rules of gluten, these will expand pretty dramatically. The results have distinct, crisp exteriors and tender interiors, perfect for splitting and layering with berries and cream. I tested this recipe seventeen times, and while these are not the tallest chocolate biscuits I made, they are by far the most delicious. I don’t know about your kitchen, but in mine, delicious beats aesthetic perfection every time. Craggy tops and soft centers for the win!

Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes​

As far as assembly goes, this is a pretty run-of-the-mill shortcake operation. I like to use a fork to gently split the cooled biscuits into two thin layers, then sandwich them with chocolate whipped cream, berries and chopped dark chocolate. I add an extra flourish on top because I think it’s pretty, but feel free to leave your shortcakes unadorned if that’s more your style.

Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes​

You’ll notice that I didn’t specify any particular berry for these shortcakes. Why limit yourself, you know? I used a mix of strawberries and raspberries because that’s what sounded good at the time. Feel free to use any berry (or other fruit) you like. We’re already twisting a classic—might as well do away with all the rules.

Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes​
Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes​
Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes
makes about 12 shortcakes

1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated espresso (optional)
6 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
2.5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream + more for brushing, very cold
1 tablespoon coarse sugar

Berries:
20-24 ounces fresh berries (about 4-5 cups)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For assembly:
Chocolate Whipped Cream (recipe below)
2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, espresso granules, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips (not your palms!) or a pastry blender, cut cold butter into flour mixture until it is roughly the size of peas. Stir in chopped dark chocolate.

Pour in heavy cream. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. You may need to knead it in the bowl a couple of times. If it seems too dry (“dusty”), add more cream by the tablespoon.

Turn dough out onto a floured (or cocoa powdered) surface. Give it 1-2 kneads before patting into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Flour a large, sharp chef’s knife before slicing the rectangle into 12 biscuits. Be sure to slice directly down—do not saw.

Evenly space biscuits on prepared pan, leaving 2.5 inches between each. Brush the tops with more heavy cream and sprinkle each with coarse sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or tops are craggy and they have spread somewhat dramatically. Let biscuits cool completely the pan.

While the biscuits are cooling, fold berries and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit (macerate) at room temperature for up to an hour.

When the biscuits are cool and the berries are ready, make the chocolate whipped cream (recipe below).

Assemble shortcakes. Use a fork to gently split biscuits in half equatorial (it’s okay if they’re not perfect). Gently move the bottom half of a biscuit to a plate. Top with chocolate whipped cream and berries. Place the top half of the biscuit over the top. Garnish with more chocolate whipped cream and berries, if desired. Serve immediately.

Leftovers are best eaten within a day or so.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
makes ~1 1/2 cups (enough for 6-8 desserts)

2 cups heavy cream, very cold
4 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, depending on preference

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip (but if you do, just add a little more cream).

Load whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a tip or scoop with a spoon and use as desired.
Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes​
Double Chocolate Berry Shortcakes​

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Chocolate Whipped CreamFor most of my 35 years, I’ve been under the impression that whipped cream is a perfect food. At it’s simplest, it’s just cream and air, and it goes on pretty much everything. Truly, it’s a one ingredient recipe (or two if you add sugar, or three with vanilla) to rule them all. I literally cannot think of a dessert that isn’t improved by the addition of whipped cream. It’s as perfect as a garnish gets…Chocolate Whipped Cream…or so I thought before I whipped cocoa powder into it. Chocolate Whipped Cream is a more perfect food. Beyond perfect, really. And I say this as an outspoken vanilla person. *clutches pearls*Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamLike classic whipped cream, Chocolate Whipped Cream is a snap to make. Simply whip cold heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Alternatively, small batches take well to my beloved jar method.Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped Cream is every bit as airy and smooth as it’s classic counterpart, and has a deep chocolate flavor to boot. I prefer mine on the bittersweet side, but feel free to bump up the confectioner’s sugar if you prefer yours sweeter. Oh, and if you don’t have confectioner’s sugar on hand, the granulated stuff will work just as well, although your final product may not be quite as stable.Chocolate Whipped CreamAs for ways to use Chocolate Whipped Cream, follow your dessert-loving little heart. Use it as a fruit dip or as a topper on homemade sundaes, sandwich it between cookies, triple the batch and frost a cake, whatever. You can’t go wrong. Here, it’s topping a bunch of little chocolate cheesecakes. Recipe coming at you Friday…Chocolate Whipped Cream

Chocolate Whipped Cream
makes enough for 6-8 desserts

1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2-4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, depending on preference

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip (but if you do, just add a little more cream).

Load whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a tip or scoop with a spoon and use as desired.

Leftover Chocolate Whipped Cream should be covered and refrigerated. It may need to be lightly re-whipped before serving.Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped Cream