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Pavlova Layer Cake with Raspberry Sauce

February 4, 2022

There is so much to love about this Layered Pavlova Cake! It tastes like a macaron cookie grew extra large and gave you a hug, but kept it’s signature fluffy merengue texture and intense filling flavor. The raspberry sauce and ice cream in the middle is such a textural delight – creamy, crunchy, gooey, smooth and sweet. I just served this for a Galentine’s/Birthday party with friends last night and it was so good. It is light yet hits the sweet spot perfectly.

It also happens to be really easy to make. It takes around 10 minutes of prep and then it cooks for a while (see directions).   If you love someone who can’t abide gluten this is for you! If you love someone who doesn’t do well with dairy, we ate ours with vanilla coconut milk ice cream and it was amazing.

You start by beating 8 egg whites + 1/4 teaspoon salt in a stand mixer with the whisk setting. It takes 5-8 minutes, and your oven should be warming up during that time. (You put it in a 350 degree oven then immediately turn it down to 225. It is low and slow for cakes). Then you slowly add 2 cups of sugar while it is still beating. Then you gently fold in 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (or cream of tarter – the egg whites need acid to create stiff peaks) and 4 teaspoons cornstarch.

You can add a drop of food coloring for a light pink color, but white is so pretty too. Then you make 2 circles on parchment paper using a 8-9 inch cake round pan. Turn over the paper so the pencil doesn’t get onto the cake. Then you spread the mixture into the two circles.

You bake them for 50-70 minutes (see below) until they are hard and then I let mine rest in the oven for another hour, but you only need to let them rest until they are cool.

While they are cooling, you can make the raspberry sauce. I use Ina Garten’s recipe – it is so easy just fresh raspberries, sugar, water, all cooked together for a few minutes. Then that mixture is blended with a jar of raspberry jam and raspberry liquor. The result is such an intense raspberry flavor, you will be so in love when you taste it and you will want to put it on everything.

Assembling the cake is so easy – just layer pavlova, ice cream, then raspberry sauce…

Then add the second pavlova on top, cover with raspberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can add the rest of the sauce on top if you want but it is so pretty and good with just raspberries.

So add some extra eggs and raspberries to your grocery list and consider your Valentine’s Desert covered. You will float away on a cloud of bliss, I promise.


Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Pavlova Layered Cake with Raspberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE PAVLOVA

  • 8 (about 260 g) egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons (10 g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) cream of tartar, OR 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • a couple drops of food coloring (optional), I used one drop of red but pink is better to get a nice pink color. I have also made this without any food coloring, and the white is so pretty too so it is totally optional. 
  • NOTE: This recipe makes TWO pavlovas. You can split the recipe in half for one layer.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (NOTE: you will reduce this temperature later). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Trace a circle on each, using an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan as your guide. Flip the parchment paper over, so the pencil doesn’t get on the pavlova. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Note: the eggs will foam first and then come together to create soft, white peaks. Be patient. This will take a few minutes.

Once the soft peaks have formed, gradually (very gradually), add the sugar (about one tablespoon at a time).

After the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks have formed, stop the mixer and fold in the cornstarch, cream of tartar (or vinegar), vanilla bean paste, and food coloring (if using).

Divide the meringue in half and pour one half onto each of the parchment sheets with circles on them. Gently spread the meringue to the edge of the circle you drew, making sure the top is fairly level. The edges don’t need to be perfectly round or even. In fact, the more rustic and left alone, the better.

Place the pavlovas in your oven. If you have two ovens, you can place one baking sheet in each. If you have one oven, you can place both baking sheets in at once, on two different racks, making sure to switch the baking sheets halfway through baking.

When you place the pavlova in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 225 degrees F.

TWO OVENS: If you are using two ovens with one pavlova in each, your bake time will be about 50 to 60 minutes. 

ONE OVEN: If you are using one oven with two pavlovas, your bake time will be closer to 70 to 90 minutes.

You are looking for the meringue to harden, but not get too brown or crack too much around the edges.

Once the pavlova is done baking, turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

 

FOR THE RASPBERRY SAUCE:

1 half-pint package fresh raspberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam

1 tablespoon Framboise liqueur (I used a local raspberry liqueur)

DIRECTIONS

Place the package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and Framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

ASSEMBLY

Place one pavlova layer on a cake stand or plate. Cover with a pint of ice cream and half of the raspberry mixture and then fresh berries. Cover with second pavlova and garnish with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar. (You could also top with more ice cream and the rest of the raspberry sauce if desired but the ratio was lovely of meringue to ice cream and sauce with it just in the middle.)

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Cake by Courtney

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

December 21, 2021

It doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I start making my mom’s chocolate fudge sauce as gifts for everyone. I love how excited our friends and neighbors get because, well it is like chocolate crack. I make it every year, and every year I congratulate myself on how easy it is to make a huge batch of gifts. It’s also so cute the way the teachers who have one of our kids in class get excited because they know they have chocolate sauce coming at Christmas. 🙂

The reason why it is so beloved is because when it is cold in the fridge (where it needs to be stored) it has a thick, fudge consistency like frosting. But when you heat it up it is liquid chocolate, and it is so good over ice cream. You’re going to want to stock up on Candy Canes too because crushed peppermint on top is the best. Sometimes I get lucky and find the special edition peppermint ice cream but the topping is just as good.

This is by far my most requested recipe and I can’t believe I am just now getting to put it up on the blog.

The best part of making this for gifts? It is only 4 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes.

You start by melting the butter and the chocolate chips together…

Then once that is smooth you add the sugar…

And right after that you add the evaporated milk, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 8 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, and to help the sugar dissolve and the rest of the chocolate chips to melt.

Then you’re ready to let it cool a little, and in 10-20 minutes stir it well, and then pour into glass jars.

PRO TIP: Use a funnel. It makes things so much easier and less messy. 

I have taken notes in my cookbook how to times the recipe by 4 or by 8 which I’ll share below because it makes cooking in bulk so easy.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

For 1 jar: 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (equal to 1 5 oz. can)

For 4 jars: 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter

2 2/3 cup sugar

2 2/3 cup evaporated milk

For 8 jars: 

6 cups semisweet chocolate chips = 3 bags

2 cup butter = 1 pound package

5 1/4 cup sugar

5 1/4 cup evaporated milk = almost 4 cans

Directions: 

In a small heavy saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, gradually stir in the evaporated milk until sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat, cook slightly. Serve warm over ice cream or cover and chill and store in the fridge.

Original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

 

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

December 17, 2021

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years around Christmas and my family loves (especially my husband!) so I am so glad I am finally sharing it with all of you!

The fluffy texture of brioche (or challah bread, I am using here) makes for the lightest, pillowy soft french toast, and the flavors of eggnog – with its sweet cinnamon and nutmeg flavors – go so perfectly together. 

This breakfast is so easy but is so special, perfect for quick holiday brunches while you are busy doing a million other things.  And it totally feeds a crowd – I am full after one piece.

The little dusting of powdered sugar is my kids’ favorite and just adds to the Christmas brunch allure.

To make it, you just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then dunk each piece of brioche into it.

I love to use our indoor grill pan which is a skillet on one side, and it cooks 6-8 pieces at a time.

This dish is such a treat and will fill everyone with the flavors of the season. You are going to want to grab some extra eggnog this year and keep some brioche in the freezer for the slow mornings of Christmas week.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

Ingredients

 

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

November 27, 2021

Note: This is a repost from last year because this soup is my favorite way to use up turkey after Thanksgiving. The broth is so good if you make it from your turkey carcass, but if you don’t have it don’t let that stop you. This is the ultimate healthy comfort food. 

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

While it simmered, I cleaned out the fridge and tackled organizing projects in the kitchen. So basically, a clean fridge plus a delicious soup with crusty bread on a cold rainy day = the perfect evening. Plus making stock is so great for using up all those veggies in the veggie drawer that have seen better days.

Sometimes it can be hard to sell my family on soup for dinner, but everyone took a bite of this and raved. It is totally thanks to the delicious broth that adds so much depth of flavor, plus the comforting, stick to your ribs feeling from the creaminess of the butter and milk and cream.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2021

You guys. These are the BEST mashed potatoes. I am thrilled to share them, crazy about them, and hope someone out there gets to try them.

But first a little back story:

After we had our twins, we decided to get our Thanksgiving meal from a good restaurant. It felt smart and easy and we all enjoyed the day and still cooked a few sides and apps. It was so good we did it again when they were 1. The next year, my sister passed away right before Thanksgiving, and in our grief, we got it again. The next year Covid still had us turned upside-down so we ordered it again, but a big hole was felt by my sister and me and my mom (even though she had still always made her stuffing because we can’t have Thanksgiving without it). We missed our traditions.

So this year we are finally taking it back, and it feels like we have emerged from some kind of tunnel and I can see the light.

So with that backstory, I was so exited to find some ways to update the classics on our families Thanksgiving menu. When I saw this post from Ali’s Kitchen it looked beautiful! She used scallions and cilantro, but I had so many herbs on my deck I decided to use a combination of scallions, thyme, parsley, and cilantro. Then I thought about the chicken that I made from Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook with creme fraiche, shallots, garlic and lots of herbs. Ali’s potatoes call for buttermilk but I thought they would be so good with creme fraiche.

I was right. Oh my gosh, the tang it gives the potatoes is almost like a hint of lemon. (Some lemon zest would be a fun addition to these flavors too).

So let’s talk mashed potatoes. My no-fail way to make them is always to peel and cube Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, and then put them in a pan with water, then put that over medium high heat and bring that to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife and they feel tender.

Once you have mashed the potatoes, stir in the butter, salt and pepper, and creme fraiche. I really can’t get over how good these are with this tangy, creamy addition.

To make the herby mixture, heat 3 T. oil in a pan, and add scallions, garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. (These are optional but I almost recommend serving kids some of the potatoes with out the herby mixture and letting the adults have it with the heat.) Keep in mind you can use any combination of your favorite herbs here, but this combination was really good.

I hope you get to try these they are swoon – worthy. And I hope your Thanksgiving is full of food, family and fun.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

5 lbs. Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 T. unsalted butter (add more to taste if preferred)

2   7-8 oz packages Crème fraîche

3 T. salt, divided + more to taste

milk, if needed for texture

pepper

For the Herby Garnish:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, to yield a heaping half cup or so
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional but so good)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper over them and add 2 T. butter. Mash the potatoes, stirring to incorporate the butter and salt. When mashed, stir in the creme fraiche and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

To make herb topping, heat pan over medium heat with 3 T. olive oil. Add scallions, shallots, and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add parsley, cilantro, and thyme. Add salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until onions are browned a little and everything is fragrant.

When you are ready to serve, put hot potatoes in a bowl and swirl it around to create peaks and valleys. Spoon herby topping while it is warm all over. If needed, put tin foil over it until you are ready to serve.

 

 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

November 12, 2021

When I was little, I loved Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Pouring the thick white base with lines from the can still formed onto its sides that was studded with chewy mushrooms.  Adding the milk, and whisking until they were sort of combined, bumps were fine. It was heaven.

To an eight year old.

As a grown up, it’s pretty gross.

The good news is that it is very quick and easy to make a cream of mushroom soup from scratch that is filled with the creamy umami goodness that it’s canned cousin slightly possesses.

You start with browning a mix of cremini and shiitake mushrooms, and after reserving a cupful for later, you add the aromatics of shallots and garlic…

Then you add the dried tarragon, which goes so well with mushrooms I pretty much add it whenever I am cooking with them.

Then add broth, simmer for 10 minutes…

At this point you have some options that are all based on personal preferences. You could eat it like this, or to have a bit more of a refined soup, you can insert your immersion blender and go. Some people like to completely blend the soup so it is a thick, creamy base with the reserved mushrooms added back in. But I guess as a nod to my Campbell’s soup days, I like little chewy bits of mushrooms in my soup.

So I like to process it until it is chunky, not creamy.

This is the perfect dish to serve to guests who may be visiting for Thanksgiving, or to have a steamy bowl set at each place setting to set the meal off. If you want to get really fancy, you could thicken it a little (find out ways to thicken sauces here, my favorite is to mix a little flour and butter together to make a roux) and use this as a base for your green bean casserole, which is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Or just make it on a rainy Friday in November like today.

It’s the perfect recipe for when you walk by beautiful mushrooms in your grocery, and it only takes a few more minutes then the stuff from a can. But your inner child will still love the stick-to-your-ribs comfort food feeling you get. I promise.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Ingredients: 

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups mushrooms – a mix of cremini (or button) and shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, roughly chopped or sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 4 shallots, minced (about 3/4 -1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil on medium heat. When hot, add butter, and once it has melted add the mushrooms, tossing to coat in the butter and oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove one cup of the mushrooms to add back in later.

Add shallots and garlic to pot, and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Add the tsp. salt, tarragon, and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Once soup has cooled a bit, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. (You can also use a standing blender, but I like my soup with chunks rather than totally smooth, so I prefer the immersion blender.) Once it is your desired level of thickness, stir in cream, pepper and add extra mushrooms and parsley to the pot. Taste and check for seasonings and serve.