Ali’s Favourite: Vanilla Snow Pavlova
A classic and a KitchenAid favourite! This delicious pavlova can be made as a large 8 egg crowd pleaser or adapted to a smaller 4 egg version*.
Makes: 1 large pavlova
8 x large egg whites, at room temperature
Good pinch of salt
400g caster sugar
Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp boiling water (optional*)
500ml thickened (or pouring) cream
60g caster sugar
2 punnets of your favourite berries or any combination of strawberries, raspberries, Blueberries or pomegranate seeds
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 120°C (100°C fan forced). Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Place the egg whites and salt in to the mixing bowl, attach the wire whisk and pouring shield. Whisk on speed 2 or 4 until soft peaks are formed.
Add the sugar in one go and turn to speed 6 until the sugar is combined then increase to speed 10 and mix for 10 – 12 minutes or until the meringue is very thick, creamy and glossy. Scrape down the sides of bowl regularly with a spatula.
Add the vanilla, cornflour, vinegar and boiling water (if using). Mix on speed 1 until just combined. Do not overmix.
Dollop and spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet.
Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes or until the shell is firm and dry. Turn oven off and allow the meringue to cool completely with the oven door slightly ajar.
For the topping:
Place the cream and caster sugar in a clean mixing bowl. Attach the wire whisk and beat on speed 6 for 2-3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Spread cooled meringue shell with cream and generously pile the berries on top. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
*Recipe can be halved for a smaller version if desired.
*The boiling water adds a wonderful lightness to the shell. Add the water to the side of the bowl
Beating the eggs whites on a lower speed at the start of the method produces a very strong meringue – be patient.
For a change, try sprinkling with ground cinnamon and a little sugar combined to serve.
The meringue will keep, without the topping, (in a sealed container) for 1-2 days. Top with cream and berries to serve.
Lee’s Favourite: Shortbread (gluten free)
These delicious, buttery shortbreads are gluten free, but can also be made with plain wheat flour if preferred. Flavour them with vanilla, lemon and even a touch of dried lavender.
Serves 12 -14
230g (1½ cups) gluten free plain flour*
½ tsp Xanthan gum* (if required)
Small pinch salt
185g unsalted cultured butter, softened
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)
1 egg yolk
Finely grated rind from 1 lemon and/or 2 tsp dried lavender for cooking (optional)
Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan forced)
Place the mixing bowl onto the stand mixer and attach the wire whisk and pouring shield. Add flour, gum (if required) and salt to the bowl. Turn to speed 1 and whisk until combined. Remove flour mix from the bowl and set aside.
Place the mixing bowl on the stand mixer and attach the flat beater. Add the butter to the mixing bowl. Turn to speed 6 and beat for 1 minute. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on speed 1 to combine. Increase to speed 6 and beat for 7 minutes or until light and fluffy, wiping the sides down regularly with a spatula.
Turn off the mixer. Add the flour, egg yolk, lemon rind (if using) and/or lavender (if using) and beat on speed 1 until combined. Increase to speed 4 and mix until a dough begins to form. Do not overmix.
Remove mixture from bowl and lightly knead. The dough will be very soft. Form into a ball and cover in plastic wrap then rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Roll the dough to approx. 1.25 cm thick and cut into desired shape/s. Place onto the prepared trays leaving space between them as they will spread during baking.
Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool completelybefore carefully removing to a cooling rack. Shortbread will keep for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in a cool place.
*Many commercial gluten free flours now have a ‘gum’ already added. Please check the label. If no gum is listed on the packaging please add the Xanthan gum to the flour. The gum gives firmness and helps prevent crumbling.
*For standard wheat based shortbread: replace gluten free flour and Xanthan gum with a good quality plain flour.
Carla’s Favourite: Cheese & Spring Onion Ravioli
A deliciously smooth and lightly flavoured triple cheese filling inside lovely fresh pasta pillows. You can vary the filling by adding some cooked chopped spinach too, if you desire. Serve with our burnt butter sauce or your favorite tomato pasta sauce.
300g (2 cups) plain pasta flour*
Good pinch salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
30ml extra light olive oil
Extra flour, for dusting
2 tsp olive oil
5 spring onions, finely chopped
250g fresh ricotta cheese
60g feta cheese, finely crumbled
¾ cup finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
Optional: 100g cooked drained spinach (squeeze off excess liquid)*
Burnt Butter Sauce:
1 tomato, cut into quarters, seeds removed and finely diced
½ cup small fresh basil leaves
Grated parmesan cheese, extra, for serving
Attach the flat beater to the stand mixer. Place flour, salt, eggs and oil into mixing bowl. Turn mixer to speed 2 and mix until well combined. Attach the dough hook. Turn mixer to speed 2 and knead for 3 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest (in refrigerator if desired) for 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add spring onions and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Place the spring onions, ricotta, feta, parmesan, lemon rind, nutmeg and spinach (if using) with plenty of salt and pepper into the cleaned mixing bowl. Attach the flat beater, mix on speed 1 until combined and set aside.
To make the ravioli:
Cut dough into 4 even pieces. Attach pasta sheet roller to stand mixer. Take one section of dough and pat out to flatten. Adjust the roller setting to 1. Turn mixer to speed 4 and feed the dough into rollers. Fold dough in half and feed through again. Repeat this step twice, adjusting the rollers to setting 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, then finally, setting 6 for each roll.
Remove the pasta sheets and lay on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with remaining dough until you have 4 sheets of pasta.
Take 1 sheet of pasta. Place rounded tablespoons of the filling along the pasta sheet leaving space to seal the pasta around each one.
Moisten around each filling mound with a little water. Lay a second sheet of pasta gently on top of the filling. Press around the mounds of cheese with your hands to seal the filling in a little pillow between the two sheets. Cut dough into individual large ravioli and press the edges together with a fork. Repeat with the remaining pasta and filling.
Cook ravioli for in boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until just tender. Remove and drain with a slotted spoon and place into warmed serving bowls.
For the sauce:
Quickly, heat the butter in a heavy based frying pan over medium high heat, swirling it around for about 1 minute or until very foamy with a slightly golden nutty colour (do not burn). Drizzle butter over the ravioli and top with the tomato and basil. Season to taste and serve immediately with extra grated parmesan.
*Pasta flour has a high protein content and makes a superior pasta. It is available from good supermarkets & specialty stores.
*If using spinach it must be squeezed gently to remove all the excess liquid before adding to the filling. If the spinach is not drained well it will cause the filling to be wet and soggy.