WOAH, I can't even believe I get to say this but today's FFF's first blogiversary (isn't this silly word pretty awesome--I kinda love it)!! I just want to tell you guys how lucky I feel to have found this amazing community of food lovers and how grateful I am for all the love and support you've all given me this past year. It's crazy to look back and see just how much has changed in the last year. In the past year, we moved from SF to LA, we made some new friends (actually, I made a TON of new blogger friends ♡♡♡) , we took a few trips, Vienna gave us the scare of a lifetime, my godson turned THREE, my grandmother turned 90, many friends got married, and this little blog even got nominated for an award! And yet, after all these (mostly) wonderful events and changes, I still hate olives. Hate. Love olive oil, hate olives. But that's neither here nor there and I probably shouldn't have mentioned it cause we're celebrating! One whole year of FFF. HUGE HUGS for everyone!!
To celebrate, I first thought strawberry guava chiffon cake, definitely strawberry guava chiffon cake. However, the chiffon gods were against me and I quickly learned that those cans of Hawaiian Sun or Hawaii's Own guava concentrate, which I apparently took for granted (growing up in Hawaii), are insanely difficult to find in the states. I just couldn't fathom making a guava chiffon cake without it, and definitely couldn't make a chiffon cake without guava. I might revisit this idea later but it wasn't meant to be...just yet, and honestly it's for the best because if it had happened, I wouldn't have been able to share THIS recipe with you today and it's pretty much the perfect way to celebrate!
Do you ever get so fixated on something, that you become blinded by your fixation and can't seem to look past it? Well, as much as I hate to admit it, it happens to me more often than I'd like and is usually attached to this blog in some manner. I recently saw a friend on Maui who suggested that it might be in my best interest to start running again, do some yoga, and ultimately calm down a little (eep). I guess I have a tendency to focus on perfection, strive for it, and then ultimately hold onto the idea of it so tightly that every now and then I come off, how do I say this, high strung? So when my chiffon idea fell to the wayside, I found myself somewhat frustrated searching my mind for another idea, any idea, when...DUH. I turned to one of the people, who in many ways inspired to start a food blog.
I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I am a Food Blog is one of my favorite blogs, ever, and has been a major source of inspiration in the blogosphere, in my kitchen, and in a lot of ways life as a whole. Stephanie's style is minimal, clean, beautiful, and extremely approachable and I am without a doubt here today writing to all of you in part because of her. Not only is her blog amazing but she herself is one of the nicest humans in all the land and I feel so lucky to call her a friend (thank you, Steph!!). When I found myself in a rut, I absent mindedly opened up her book, Easy Gourmet, and almost instantly found the what I was looking for: the perfect recipe. It comes together easily and can be dressed up according to what's in season.
So what is it? It's this pavlova!! I doubled it, subbed summer flavors (stone fruit for berries), adjusted the time and temperature to compensate for my mega version but honestly, didn't have to do much. The end result was every bit of what I'd hoped it be. This pavlova is light and airy, peppered with some rich and buttery little pine nuts, topped with a pillow of cloud-like cherry cream, then loaded with summer's other bounty: stone fruits!! I threw on some tiny little chocolate and orange mint leaves, as well as a few teeny, tiny blue basil flowers for flair (and flavor) and that was about it. It's the perfect way to end a meal and I really do feel like it's a great way to celebrate a blogiversary (hehehe, still loving that word)! Thank you again to everyone who making this year absolute magic!
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
- 1/3 c. pine nuts
- 2 c. cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/8 c. granulated
- 1 tsp. Kirsch (I used Maraska)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, chilled
- 1/2 c. cherries, pitted and halved
- 3 ripe apricots
- 2 ripe, small pluots
- Handful of pine nuts
- Mint leaves (from 1-2 sprigs of mint)
- Basil blossoms
- Stand mixer
- Baking sheets
- Silpat mat or parchment paper
- Silicone spoonula/wooden spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Glass measuring cup (for liquids)
- Cooling rack
- Pre-line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites with the salt until peaks start to form (about 2-3 minutes). Add the sugar in a slow stream. Whip until the eggs are shiny and stiff (around 8-10 minutes). Sprinkle in the cornflour, vanilla, vinegar and pine nuts. Gently fold to combine.
- Using your spatula or a large spoon, dollop the meringue onto the pre-lined baking sheet and spread into a 9-inch round with a slight indentation in the center. Place in the oven and immediately turn down to 250° and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until crisp but still chewy on the inside. Turn the oven off; let the meringue rest in the oven for 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
- Do this while your pavlova is baking. In a medium saucepan, combine cherries and granulated sugar, stirring to coat cherries evenly, then cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes on medium, stirring as necessary. Check on mixture every few minutes to prevent from boiling/foaming over. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in Kirsch. Let cool completely then transfer to fridge to chill.
- Once cooled beat the cream with the mascarpone in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, at medium speed until moderately firm, around 3 minutes. Stir 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into the cooled cherry compote, then fold the cherry mixture into the remaining whipped cream.
- Spoon the cherry cream into the center of the meringue. Garnish with stone fruits, pine nuts, mint leaves, and basil blossoms. Serve and enjoy!