Cakes & Bakes: Lemon and blueberry Pavlova

Home-made lemon and blueberry Pavlova | H is for Home

One of the first things I remember baking as a kid in Trinidad are soupies. Plain meringue rounds, usually with a good dash of garish food colouring. I don’t think I’ve made meringue since then, so this dessert is a long time coming! This time the recipe will be a bit more sophisticated; I’ll be making a lemon and blueberry Pavlova. I’m not a great fan of dry, chalky meringue so I’m making it with a just about baked, soft, chewy Swiss meringue.

Four separated eggs and aluminium cup of sugar | H is for Home

For a successful meringue you need to ensure you do a few things. Firstly, use the freshest eggs possible. Next, separate you eggs – one by one – not into each other to ensure none of the yolk gets into the mix. If you don’t, the yolk of the last egg you crack splits, that would be all the egg whites ruined!

Swiss meringue mixture over a saucepan of simmering water | H is for Home

It’s also important to make sure that your mixing bowl and your whisk or whisk attachment are clean as a whistle. If they have any sign of oil or grease it will affect how well the egg whites form those all-important stiff peaks.

Beaten Swiss meringue mixture | H is for Home

Success on that front – so I was off to a good start!

Swiss meringue piped on to parchment paper | H is for Home

I decided on three graduated layers with whipping cream swirled with the gently simmered blueberries – and a small batch of my freshly made lemon curd.

Home-made lemon and blueberry Pavlova with jar of lemon curd | H is for Home

The flavours worked so well together – the sweet meringue combining beautifully with the slightly tart blueberries and the sweet, unctuous lemon. A real triumph!

Home-made lemon and blueberry Pavlova | H is for Home

Other great Pavlova fillings you could try are the classic strawberries, passion fruit & kiwifruit; mandarin; peach, pomegranate, banana & toffee (banoffee) or black cherry & chocolate (black forest). Or flavour the actual meringue with cocoa powder, fine ground coffee beans or – my new favourite – cardamom.

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!
Home-made lemon and blueberry pavlova | H is for Home

Lemon and blueberry Pavlova
Ingredients
  1. 4 egg whites
  2. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  3. pinch of cream of tartar
  4. 150g/5oz blueberries
  5. 300ml/10½fl oz whipping cream
  6. 50g lemon curdHome-made lemon and blueberry pavlova ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 100ºC/200ºF/gas mark ½
  2. Line a large oven tray with baking parchment
  3. In a heat-proof mixing bowl, gently mix the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar over a simmering saucepan of water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water). Keep stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved
  4. Remove the mixing bowl from the saucepan and, using an electric mixer, beat on a slow speed rising gradually to a high speed. Continue for about 3-5 minutes until the meringue forms stiff peaks
  5. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle
  6. Pipe 3 graduated circular shapes and 6-8 meringue kisses on to the parchment paper
  7. Bake for 1-1½ hours depending on how sticky or hard you want the finished meringue
  8. Put the blueberries into a small saucepan with a tablespoonful of sugar and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool
  9. Beat the whipping cream until thickened and forms peaks. Set aside
  10. When cooked, remove the meringue from the parchment paper (you may need to use a palette knife) and allow to cool completely on a wire rack
  11. Put the largest meringue round on to a large plate and top with ⅓ of the whipped cream, ⅓ of the blueberry mixture and drizzle with ⅓ of the lemon curd
  12. Repeat with the two other circles of meringue (the smallest goes on the top)
  13. Decorate with the meringue kisses
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Lemon fresh!

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growing lemon seedlings in a vintage oversized tea cup | H is for Home

I first got the idea of growing my own lemon plants from a pin I came across on Pinterest.

Vintage oversized tea cup, lemon seeds, gravel and compost

It looked really easy so I collected all the pips from lemons we used in cooking for a few weeks.

Planting lemon seeds in a vintage oversized tea cup

When I had a handful, I was ready to go. I opted for this lovely oversize cup as a container – you can choose anything you fancy – cups, old tins, boxes etc. Some gravel in the bottom to prevent water-logging and multi-purpose compost to cover. Done!

Germinating lemon seeds in a vintage oversized tea cup

The pips were planted in February and small shoots appeared in June, so it took quite a while for them to start germinating – I have to admit that I nearly gave up on them! They got a day in the sunshine as encouragement & reward when I saw those first shoots appear.

Lemon seedlings growing in a vintage oversized tea cup

Look at them now! The bold, brightly coloured pattern of the cup contrasts with the glossy green foliage of the young lemon plants. It looks fabulous on our kitchen window sill… and they smell gorgeous when you rub a leaf between your fingers – fresh and citrusy.

Lemon seedlings growing in a vintage oversized tea cup

I can leave them in the cup as they are now and have lots of these pretty dwarf plants – or perhaps pot these on to get larger lemon trees and start again with the pips. A fully fledged lemon business maybe!

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon & blueberry cheesecake

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Slice of home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake | H is for Home

Right, it’s official, cheesecake is H is for Home’s favourite cake!

Home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake ingredients | H is for Home

Hobnobs ground in a food processor | H is for Home

It’s by far, the most baked Cakes & Bakes entry.

Cheesecake biscuit base made using Hobnobs | H is for Home

Juicing & zesting lemons | H is for Home

This week, lemon & blueberry cheesecake joins the ranks.

Eggs broken into a small measuring jug | H is for Home

Cheesecake mixture and blueberry purée | H is for Home

I’ve used Hobnobs instead of the usual digestive biscuits for the base. Frozen blueberries are available in the supermarket all year round and at a fraction of the price of fresh.

Adding blueberry purée to cheesecake mixture | H is for Home

Lemon & blueberry cheesecake put into a water bath before baking | H is for Home

Home-made cheesecake isn’t difficult. The secret is cooking it long & low. Wrapping the tin with foil and placing it in a water bath (bain-marie) makes sure it cooks properly all the way through without burning. You want the slightest browning of the top.

Top of home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake before topping with fruit | H is for Home

Home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake | H is for Home

It feels like a very indulgent cake… but I know the blueberries count as one of your 5-a-day. It leaves just one question, do the lemons make it two? 😉

Detail of a home-made lemon & blueberry cheesecake | H is for Home

If you’d like to save this recipe, you can pin it from here.

Chocolate covered marzipan petit fours
Yields 45
For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the chocolate coating
  1. 50ml/1¾fl oz whipping cream
  2. 7g/¼oz sugar
  3. 12ml/½fl oz water
  4. 45g/1½oz dark chocolate, chopped
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
For the marzipan
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until it comes together into a thick ball (about a minute)
  2. Turn the marzipan out onto a work surface and knead it a couple of times
  3. Form it into a pack of butter shape, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour
  4. Bring cream, sugar, and 60ml/2fl oz water to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves
  5. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and the glaze is smooth
  6. Slice the slab of marzipan into equal sized cubes before rolling each between your palms to form balls
  7. Using a tooth pick, dip each ball into the chocolate sauce before placing it on a tray lined with parchment paper
  8. Cover the petit fours carefully with cling film and chill for half an hour
Notes
  1. Any unused marzipan will keep for up to a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon & poppy seed loaf

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lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

Whenever I ask Justin what kind of cake he fancies, his reply always starts with the word ‘lemon’.

lemon & poppy seed loaf ingredients | H is for Home

Lemon isn’t my own personal favourite, but I decided to grant his wish today.

sugar and butter mixture | H is for Home

I’ve made him lemon drizzle cake, lemon curd tarts, lemon marmalade bars, lemon & polenta berry squares, lemon refrigerator cookies…

sifting lemon & poppy seed loaf dry mix | H is for Home

So something new – lemon & poppy seed loaf.

lemon & poppy seed loaf dry mix | H is for Home

It has the sharpness of citrus combined with a slightly earthy tone provided by the poppy seeds.

lemon zest & juice | H is for Home

The cake batter is quick and easy to make.

lemon & poppy seed loaf mixing | H is for Home

I folded whisked egg whites into the batter so the texture wasn’t too dense and heavy.

folding in egg whites to lemon & poppy seed loaf mix | H is for Home

The resulting loaf is substantial, but also light and open textured.

uncooked lemon & poppy seed loaf mixture in tin | H is for Home

It’s topped with a lemon glaze and a zingy, crunchy sugar topping…

glazing a lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

…another request from the lemon-meister!

close up of sliced lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

It’s one of those perfect afternoon cakes to complement a nice cuppa… and his Lordship is very happy! 🙂

Jam-filled pound cupcakes
Yields 6
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 120g/4¼oz salted butter
  2. 120g/4¼oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs, separated
  4. 120g/4¼oz plain flour, sifted
  5. 2 scant tsp baking powder
  6. pinch of salt
  7. jamHome-made jam-filled pound cupcakes ingredients
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a muffin tin and dust with flour or add cupcake/muffin cases
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture turns pale and becomes smooth
  4. Add the egg yolks, flour and salt and combine
  5. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites
  6. Add them gradually to the mixture
  7. Add the baking powder
  8. As soon as you have stirred in the baking powder, put a dessert-spoonful of cake mixture in each cupcake hole/case
  9. Add a teaspoonful of jam to the centre of each cake
  10. Cover with the remaining cake mixture, ensuring that the jam is fully covered by the cake mix
  11. Put in the oven straight away
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, prick with a skewer if it comes away clean, the cupcakes are done
  13. Allow to cool slightly before turning them out of the tin
Print
Adapted from Les Petits Plats Francais: Marvellous Mini-Cakes
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Etsy List: Citrus

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'Citrus' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

Citrus conjures up strong feelings; it ambushes all the senses. The scent is fresh and reviving. The taste zings on the tongue and the palate. The greens, yellows and ahem… oranges are eye-catching, vibrant and bright. Citrus is invigorating, uplifting, mood-enhancing and health-giving.

Citrus
Curated by H is for Home

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon curd

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Lemon curd layered sponge cake | H is for Home

For someone who claims to hate lemons, I sure cook a lot of lemon-based Cakes & Bakes recipes!

This week, I needed one lemon for something or other but saw one of those string bags of lemons in the supermarket for a whole 25p – cheaper than buying it singly.

I ended up with half a dozen lemons in the fruit bowl that needed using up. More drizzle cake? Cookies? Sorbet? Meringue?

I’ll let you in on a secret. Even though I generally can’t bear lemon, I LOVE lemon curd – I don’t know why! Lemon curd on hot, buttered toast is divine – and it’s a doddle to make.

I found a really simple recipe in my favourite celebrity chef, Delia Smith’s Cookery Course Part Two. I scaled up her recipe which made enough to fill two 400ml Mason jars. As well as being good on breakfast toast, you can use it in a sponge sandwich like I did here, lemon curd tarts or lemon roulade.

Lemon curd sponge sandwich with jar of home made lemon curd

Don’t worry if your mixture looks like it’s curdling when it begins to cook. Once the temperature is low, you keep stirring and the butter begins to melt – it will all be fine!

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon curd

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 x 400ml Mason jars

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon curd

Ingredients

  • 300g/10½oz caster sugar
  • 4 large lemons, finely grated zest and juice
  • 8 large eggs
  • 200g/7oz butter
  •  
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Instructions

  1. Put the grated lemon zest and sugar into a large bowl
  2. In a large measuring jug, whisk the lemon juice together with the eggs
  3. Pour the lemon juice & egg mixture over the zest & sugar mixture
  4. Add the butter cut into small cubes and put the bowl over a pan of just simmering water
  5. Stir frequently until thickened - about 30 minutes
  6. Decant into sterilised jars before screwing the lids down tightly
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