Mixed Berry Meringue Stacks with Mascarpone whipped cream


 
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries. The perfect, simple, throw together dessert that can be easily made ahead and is easy to feed a crowd
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries. The perfect, simple, throw together dessert that can be easily made ahead and is easy to feed a crowd
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries. The perfect, simple, throw together dessert that can be easily made ahead and is easy to feed a crowd
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries. The perfect, simple, throw together dessert that can be easily made ahead and is easy to feed a crowd
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries. The perfect, simple, throw together dessert that can be easily made ahead and is easy to feed a crowd
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries. The perfect, simple, throw together dessert that can be easily made ahead and is easy to feed a crowd

We have zero space for a BBQ, which bums me out on the regular, because having people round for a BBQ is one of my FAVE things ever to do. Granted, I'm not that great at the actual BBQ part, but there's something about having people around, cooking outside, and keeping things simple. I grew up in a house which was somewhat of a railway station - there were always a few extras here and there most of the time, so grew up with communal meals happening almost more frequently than just us sitting around the dinner table. Mum and Dad have a swimming pool at their house, so in the summertime our house becomes a hub for our friends and family, and most evenings end with a bbq meal outside. Having a BBQ is one of the things I look forward to when I finally have a house one day of my own, along with grass, and a washing line. 

My favourite thing about having loads of people around all the time when I was younger, was the desserts. Always an opportunity to make something to be shared. I usually just rotated through the few things I knew how to make, sometimes trying something a little different. Sometimes Mum would make a giant pavlova, topped with cream and berries. 

These meringue stacks are a little nod to summer desserts and the BBQ I wish I had. The meringues themselves are super easy to make, and can be made ahead (they are actually best made ahead so that they have time to fully dry out). That way when it comes to serving, all you have to do is set out some berries, quickly whip some cream, and pop it all on the table for people to build their own desserts. It is quick and easy and relatively fuss free, while still being crazy delicious. It's a great way to use up that jar of egg whites in your fridge (maybe that's just me that always has that - I'm sure not everyone tests a custard recipe requiring 6 yolks, four times in a row), and you can tailor them to however you like, or whatever is on hand - they would be amazing with roasted or fresh stone fruit, or some quickly poached rhubarb. 

A few wee notes:

  • Meringues can be kind of finicky - you want to dry them out rather than baking them, so low and slow is the way to go. I like to bake them the night before I need them, and leave them in the oven with the door cracked a little to let them cool overnight. Once they are done, store them in an airtight container because they will get sticky with moisture.

  • The meringue recipe I have used here is super scaleable - It's just 1 part egg whites to 1.5 parts sugar by weight, so to adjust it accordingly if you have a certain amount of egg whites, simply multiply the amount of egg by 1.5 to give you the sugar quantity!

  • This recipe (it's a swiss meringue) is enough to fill 2 baking trays with meringue - I used an Ateco #828 tip to pipe them, but you could use whatever you have on hand - or even just spoon little mounds onto the baking tray. Because you are just drying them out, rather than baking to a certain stage, you can have a range of different sized meringues on the same tray - I made mainly nests, then piped some kisses too to go alongside.

 

 

Mixed Berry Meringue Stacks with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

- Makes about 12 stacks, depending on your piping size -

Meringue
200g egg whites
300g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Mascarpone whipped cream
1 1/2 cups (360ml) whipping cream
4 oz (110g) Mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To serve
Berries or fresh fruit of your choice
Powdered sugar to dust

- PROCESS -

MERINGUE

Preheat the oven to 225˚f / 110˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure the egg whites and granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer. 

Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with the piping tip of your choice.

Pipe 'nests', or round flat circles onto the baking paper, leaving a small amount of space between each. You can pipe whatever shape you would like here - blobs, nests, kisses etc. My circles were approx 2 1/2 inches wide. 

Place the baking sheets into the oven. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until they feel firm and no longer sticky, and peel cleanly off the paper when you lift them up. Turn off the oven, and leave them in there for at least an additional hour to dry out and crisp up.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

ASSEMBLY

Place cream in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until soft peaks form. Add Mascarpone and vanilla, and whip just until stiff peaks start to form.

Layer a meringue with berries and cream, followed by a second meringue, more berries, and more cream. Finish with a dust of powdered sugar. 

Keep components separate until ready to serve. 

Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries. The perfect, simple, throw together dessert that can be easily made ahead and is easy to feed a crowd

Thank you to Elsie Green for the beautiful jars!

Earl grey blueberry pie


 
Earl grey blueberry pie
Earl grey blueberry pie
Earl grey blueberry pie
Earl grey blueberry pie
Earl grey blueberry pie
Earl grey blueberry pie
Earl grey blueberry pie
Earl grey blueberry pie

Happy almost Swedish midsummer! This time last year we were actually in Sweden - staying just out of Stockholm with some good friends of ours. This meant that we were there for midsummer, which was so fun. And so, so rowdy. Shots at lunch time? Yes please. Our friends have an amazing holiday home on the archipelago, and we made a maypole down by the water. I think the day ended with sabering a bottle of champagne using the scoop of the digger. Great fun. 

Summer is well and truly here, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with Pie (which is my default celebration dessert). I have been wanting to try an earl grey pie crust for a while now, as I firmly believe that if you can infuse it, you can earl grey it. Add it to everything. Name your cat after it. I wanted to keep the tea taste fairly subtle, so I subbed ice water for cold earl grey tea in the crust, and added a little ground tea too. It made the pastry a lovely brown colour, which was delicately scented with the flavour of the tea. I kept it simple with a blueberry filling, which also had some bergamot extract in it to help accentuate the earl grey flavour. 

I went for an easy cut-out top - I just rolled out the top crust, cut some holes in it with a small flower shaped cutter, then placed it over the filling and folded the edges over. Super simple, yet super effective. 

This post is done in conjunction with a bunch of other bloggers - Organised by the lovely Saghar of Lab Noon, as part of the #virtualmidsummerpotluck4peace blog party. The idea is that we all bring something to a virtual picnic from our cultural background. I was originally going to make a pavlova, but my oven and I don't have the best track record with anything remotely meringue based, so I'm still working on that. I grew up on berry based desserts, and earl grey, so what is better than combining the two! I have listed all of the other bloggers participating at the end of this post.

Things are a little weird and shitty at the moment in the world, and it's more important than ever that we stand as a united front. We have to stand in each other's corners. We are all humans, regardless of what situation, country, race or religion we were born into. Love is most important. That's all there is to it. 

A few wee notes:

  • The overnight rest on the pastry is more important than usual - you want the earl grey flavour to develop

  • Bergamot extract is totally optional, but if you are a die hard earl grey fan like me I highly recommend - it elevates the flavour so nicely, and a little goes a long way

  • If the dough gets too warm at any point just pop it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to harden up - I made this on a super hot day so did it in stages

 

 

Earl Grey blueberry pie
- Makes one 9 inch pie - 

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (310g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 Tbsp finely ground earl grey tea
2 sticks (226g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) strongly brewed earl grey tea, cold
1 cup ice
 

Filling
5 cups fresh blueberries (approx. 1 Kg)
2 Tbsp (30ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 cup (50g) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cup (75g) flour
1 1/2 tsp bergamot extract (optional)

To finish
1 large egg
1 tsp water
Turbinado / Raw sugar for sprinkling
 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar, ground tea leaves and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine brewed tea and, water and ice in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.  

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

Roll out one of the discs of dough to slightly larger than your 9" pie dish. Line the dish with the dough, leaving an overhang. Rest in the fridge until ready to fill.

In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients. Toss well to combine using a spatula. Pour into the prepared dough-lined pie dish. 

Roll out the second disc of dough to slightly larger than the dish. Use a small cutter to cut shapes out of the dough. Place the top crust over the filled pie. Trim any overhang to approx half an inch wider than the dish, then fold both pieces over tightly to form the edge of the pie. Crimp if desired. Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

While the pie is resting, preheat the oven to 425˚f / 220˚c. Once the pie has rested, remove from the oven. Brush with egg wash (egg and water whisked together), and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. 

Place the pie on a baking tray, and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes until the dough has set and is beginning to go golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚f / 190˚c, and cook for a further 35-45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. 

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Eat warm or at room temperature. 

Earl grey blueberry pie

Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream


 
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread

Happy, happy Wednesday friends!  Life has been a little quiet around here for us lately, which has actually been really nice. Quiet in that we haven't done much aside from work - caught up with a few friends, occasionally left the house, you know how how it is. We spend most of our time head down, butt up, working hard to play catch-up now that design week has finished. We are back in a nice routine - up at 6 every morning, a day of work, then in bed nice and early. Rinse and repeat. It's important for me to keep a pretty strict routine otherwise my old friend homesickness will bite me in the butt. We are also coming up on 9 weeks of fostering a mama and her 5 kittens, who are slowly being adopted out to forever homes! We got them when they were 3 days old, so to say I am attached is a bit of an understatement. It's equal parts heartbreaking and happy to see them go off to new homes! I'll miss them SO much, but it's been one of the most rewarding things ever to watch them grow from tiny little rescue worms to the cute little nuggets that they are now, ready to be big cats! I can't recommend it enough, if you have space in your home or time in your schedule to take in a foster, it's an amazing thing to do!

But let's talk about ice cream. Specifically, strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream. I am somewhat of a newbie to making my own ice cream, but I can see how addictive it can be. The sky is literally your limit when it comes to flavour combinations, and it tastes so much better than the store bought version, particularly when you use fresh, seasonal ingredients. Strawberries are just starting to come into full swing here in NYC, so it made sense that they would be next on my list of ice cream additions! I love an ice cream that is interesting enough to be a dessert on its own, rather than just an accompaniment. So to help elevate the flavours and add a little texture, I added in some homemade shortbread. The crunch of the shortbread against the creamy vanilla ice cream base and the sweet strawberry ripple is pretty awesome if you ask me. This definitely isn't going to be the last time that I add cookies to ice cream. This would make the perfect summer dessert. Or anytime dessert. I had it for breakfast yesterday. It has fruit in it, so therefore it's healthy, right?! Right.

A few wee notes:

  • I used an ice cream maker for this recipe. I recently purchased it (I got the attachment for my mixer) and was slightly skeptical to begin with, but i'm totally in love with it now! Ensure that you freeze the bowl overnight before making this. 
  • I have included a recipe for a full batch of shortbread - you only use 200g of shortbread in this recipe, so if you were wanting to only make enough for the ice-cream, I would halve the recipe, which will make more than enough. However, shortbread tends to get eaten in the space of 24 hours around here (it's really good!), so I highly recommend making the full batch. You won't regret it. Promise.
  • If you wanted to leave out the shortbread and just have a strawberry ripple ice-cream, that would work well too!
  • I like to make the custard, strawberry sauce and shortbread the day before I churn the ice-cream just to make sure everything has had a chance to cool completely.
  • Get the freshest, nicest looking strawberries you can. The strawberry really shines in this recipe, so making sure you have good ingredients will really help this!
  • I made mine in a loaf tin, which tends to work best as when it comes to assembling the ice cream, you need to layer the ice cream and the strawberry sauce.

 

 

 

Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream
- Makes one quart (950ml) -

Ice cream base recipe from the kitchn

Ice Cream base
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (135g) sugar
1 1/2 cups (360ml) whole milk
1 Tbsp vanilla paste, or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy whipping cream

Shortbread
225g (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (125g) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2 cups, minus 2 Tbsp (220g) flour
2 Tbsp (16g) Corn starch

Strawberry ripple
900g (2 lbs) fresh strawberries
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) water

- PROCESS -

ICE CREAM BASE

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk well until pale. Set aside. 

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the whole milk and vanilla paste. Warm until bubbles begin to form around the outer edge of the pot. Bring to a light simmer. Remove from the heat.

Pour half of the milk into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Whisk briskly until combined. This will temper the egg yolks and stop them from scrambling. 

Pour the milk yolk mixture back into the pot, and return to a low heat. Whisk constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon, and registers at 170˚f / 75˚c on a thermometer. 

Strain though a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the cream. Transfer to an airtight container and chill for at least two hours, or overnight.

SHORTBREAD

Preheat the oven to 150c/300f. Line two baking trays with parchment paper

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using an electric mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar until pale. 

Add the flour and corn starch, and mix until combined. It will look crumbly to begin with, but the dough will soon come together. 

Shape into two square shaped logs. Cut slices off the logs and place onto the prepared trays, leaving room for spreading. Prick each shortbread twice with a fork. 

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, checking for doneness after 25 minutes. The shortbread will set up on cooling. Cool on a wire rack. 

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

STRAWBERRY SAUCE

Cut the tops off the strawberries, and cut them into quarters. Place in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the sugar and water, and mix to combine. 

Heat over a medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes, breaking down the strawberries with the spoon as you stir. Continue to cook until the fruit has mostly broken down. 

Remove from the heat. Pass the fruit through a sieve, pressing down with the back of a spoon to squeeze as much juice out as possible. Discard the solids.

Clean the pot, and return to the stove. Add the strained juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and syrupy. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge until completely chilled.

ICE CREAM CHURNING AND ASSEMBLY

Measure out 200g (7oz) of the shortbread. Chop roughly into small cubes.

Add the chilled custard mixture to the ice cream maker, and churn to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last two minutes, add the shortbread, ensuring that it is evenly distributed. Remove from the ice cream maker.

In a freezer safe container such as a loaf tin, layer a third of the shortbread ice cream. Top with half of the strawberry sauce, followed by the second third of the ice cream. Repeat the layering with the second half of the strawberry sauce and the last third of the ice cream. Smooth down with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on the surface of the ice cream. Place in the freezer until solid, at least 6 hours. 

Stand for 5 minutes before serving to allow to soften slightly. Cover again with plastic or wax paper before returning to the freezer.

Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread