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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Pavlova With Fresh Berries

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There’s a long-standing argument on whom credit is given, New Zealand or Australia, for creating this beautiful dessert. This dessert was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who first toured Down Under in 1926. It was said that this dessert was created by a Wellington chef in her “honor”.

This meringue-based dessert’s origin was created somewhere else. After tireless research, it turns out this dessert actually belongs to the Americans and English. This meringue-based dessert with its crisp crust, and soft light inside, usually, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit is as elegant as it is delicious.

Pavlova With Fresh Berries is a dessert that can be made in advance and assembled right before serving. I’m going to use all types of fresh berries and modestly toss them in a delicious raspberry sauce. I’m also going to make a fresh whipped cream kissed with pure vanilla.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: Food Processor, Sheet pans, Stand or handheld electric mixer, pastry bag with a star tip

Ingredients For Meringue:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 cup of sugar
3 teaspoons of sifted corn starch
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Sweetened Whipped Cream:
1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract

Raspberry Sauce:
Yields: 2 cups
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of raspberry jam with seeds (seedless optional)
1 tablespoon of Chambord ( raspberry liqueur)

Fresh Berries:
1/2 pint of hulled and sliced strawberries
1/2 pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 pint of fresh blackberries
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
Fresh mint for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw the outline of 4 inverted 6-inch creme brulee dishes, using the dishes as your guide, two on each paper. Turn the paper upside down so the pencil marks won’t get on the meringue.

Place the egg whites and salt n the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about a minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about another 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the sifted corn starch, white vinegar, and vanilla extract to the beaten egg whites.

Fill the piping bag with a star tip with the egg whites. Starting in the middle moving outwards, draw out the meringue to complete the traced outline of the creme brulee dish. Once the outside of the line of the dish has been reached, go around one more time on the outer line to make a lip. This will allow you to fill the meringues to be filled. Refer to the pictures above.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven, for a least 1 additional hour. They will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

While the meringues are baking and cooling in the oven, this gives plenty of time to make the raspberry sauce and prepare the whipped cream.

Directions For Raspberry Sauce:
Place the raspberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and the Chambord, into the bowl of the food processor, fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Transfer the raspberry sauce to the frig and chill.

Directions For Sweetened Whipped Cream:
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Note: Do not over beat!!!
Yields: 2 cups

To Serve the Pavlova With Fresh Berries, carefully place the meringues onto the serving dishes. When ready to serve, fill the centers of the meringues with sweetened whipped cream. Place 1/4 cup of the mixed fresh berries (per meringue cookie) in a bowl. Ladle 1 to 2 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce in with the fresh berries and toss. Then ladle the sauced berries onto the top of the whipped cream in the center of each of the meringue cookies. Take a tablespoon of the raspberry sauce and drizzle some around the meringue. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

 

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Eton Mess By Way Of Italy

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This dessert is my favorite to serve when I have guests over. I think it’s the “WOW” factor of Eton MessBy Way Of Italy.

My mom who was born in London, England,  and then on my dad’s side of the family was from Sicily. This combination, from my background, definitely allows for awesome fusions dishes and desserts.

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, broken meringue, and double cream. As a young girl, who lived in London in the early ’70s, with my sister and mother, I was exposed to a whole new style of food. Eton Mess was a dessert we’d have after Sunday supper. I remember my mom always let me help, telling me that I could be as creative as I wanted to be when assembling this dessert.

I thought I would update this recipe by taking a slight detour through Italy. Bringing my Italian influences onto the scene.

I’m using a mix of fresh berries, Mascarpone  (Italian cream cheese) mixed with lemon zest, and broken turtle pecan Biscotti cookies. Topped off with a sprig of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, 6 parfait glasses

Ingredients:
1 box of turtle pecan Biscotti cookies
2 8-ounce containers of Mascarpone, room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
10 large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 small sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
powdered sugar, for dusting the tops

Directions:
Start by setting up 6 parfait glasses on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Using a small mallet, break up the Biscotti in their package. In a large bowl, add all the berries (reserving a variety of fresh berries for the top).

To the berries, add the granulated sugar, stir to coat all the berries. Let the berries macerate in the sugar for a few minutes. While the berries are macerating, in another bowl, add the Mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, mix until smooth.

Now it’s just a matter of assembling this dessert. Start with a spoonful of the crumbled Biscotti, next, a spoonful of the Mascarpone mixture. Then a spoonful of the berries. Repeat this process ending with a few of the reserved fresh berries and the crumbled Biscotti on the top. Garnish each Eton Mess By Way Of Italy with a sprig of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar.

This dessert is served best chilled for a least 15 minutes.

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Blackberry Bourbon Barbecue Chicken

 

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When I started playing around with this recipe, I knew it was going to be delicious. Then the name Blackberry Bourbon Barbecue Chicken, say that three times fast! The sweet and savory components, accompanied by the complexity of the flavors, really shine through in this dish.  If you’re not a fan of blackberries, don’t worry, there are other fruit options, like, apricots, peaches, even raspberries.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is how I’m preparing the chicken, for this dish. I know, whenever you make a one-pot meal, the browning of the protein, first, is very important. This part of the cooking process ensures extra flavor and seals in the juices.

The browning of the meat in oil, and having to do that process in batches, can be a real pain. The oil splatters and it can get really messy. I’ve decided to oven roast the chicken and eliminate that step. The chicken still comes out caramelized and, NO MESS!

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Red Quinoa

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes (remember the chicken roasts at the same time the sauce is being prepared)
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings (2 pieces of chicken per plate)
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 6-quart Dutch Oven

Ingredients For Roasting Chicken:
4 large chicken breast, bone-in skin-on (cut breast in half yielding 8 pieces)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Blackberry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce:
1 large onion diced
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper(optional)
1 pint of good bourbon
4-5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 small jar of sugar-free blackberry jam
1 standard bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
2 1/2 cups of unsalted or low sodium chicken broth
2-pints of fresh blackberries, reserve 1-pint for garnish
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Ingredients For Quinoa:
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups low sodium or unsalted chicken broth, or water

Directions For Roasting Chicken:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
After you’ve cut the 2 chicken breasts in half, pat them dry really well. Place the 8 breasts on two baking sheets. Brush each of chicken pieces with olive oil sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of  Kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes.

While the chicken is in the oven, start the sauce on the top of the stove. Once you have all the ingredients working on top of the stove. Next, turn the oven to broil position. Keep a close eye on the chicken, and continue cooking for around another 5-7 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown.  Remove the chicken from the oven and set it aside.

Adjust the oven temperature to 350-degrees F.  The chicken will finish cooking during the braising process.

Directions For Blackberry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce:
Oven set to 350 degrees F.
In a 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high heat, start sweating the onions and garlic. Add the cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper, sautè for 2-3 minutes. Add the bourbon and let reduce by half.

Turn the heat down to medium, add the sugar-free blackberry jam, stir to combine. Next, add the liquids, the barbecue sauce, and chicken broth. Again, stir to combine. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.  Continue cooking for another minute.

Add the chicken to the pot. Bring the pot back up to a bubble, reduce to a simmer, and place the lid on. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked,  or until the internal temperature 165-degrees, and chicken is tender.

Once the pot comes out of the oven, carefully transfer the chicken to a plate. With the stove on medium heat, bring the sauce up to temperature, continually stirring so the sauce doesn’t burn and thickens about 5 minutes.

Place the chicken back into the pot. Add the fresh blackberries. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook with lid off, occasionally stirring for another 15- 20 minutes.

Note: While the chicken is simmer in the sauce, start the quinoa.

Directions For Quinoa:
Cooks Note:  Be sure to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking as there is a bitter coating on the grains.
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the quinoa and chicken broth (or water) to a boil. Reduce to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

To Serve:
Spoon the quinoa onto the plate. Place the chicken on top and ladle some of that delicious sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh blackberries and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Serve hot.

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