pros: this is a very sweet, light meringue topped with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate sauce. the meringue developed this perfect crust, and the inside was still wet, but not “gross! ew! uncooked egg!” type wet, but like what the inside of a cloud should be like type wet. if that’s wrong, and i undercooked it, i don’t want to be right. it’s a perfect dessert for when it’s hot out and you don’t want a big, heavy, sticky dessert, and it’s super versatile, because you could toss any fruit on it and it would be gorgeous.
cons: the meringue is *very* sweet. I added some more strawberries to carry me through. i also whipped up this cream without any sugar and it’s a good thing i did, because sweeter would *not* have been better in this case. it might not be a con for some people (and it was ok with me), but i just thought i should mention it.
notes for next time: nope. great right off the bat. a pavlova, like a fool and a syllabub (I’ve yet to try that one), is one of those things I’ve read a lot of recipes for, but I’ve never tried. i don’t know why because it’s *so* easy!!! i did it because i’m in the midst of a two day tart process (lemon curd done: that’s a clue!), and had extra egg whites left over. it’s definitely a good thing to have in the toolbox for the next time I use a lot of yolks and don’t want to waste the whites. we’ll see how they are in a day or two. maybe with a couple of them crumbled up, I’ll make eton mess!
I got the pavlova recipe from Epicurious, except clearly i didn’t go the apricot-raspberry-almond route (so, skip the almonds and sub vanilla extract for the almond extract). the chocolate sauce is from david lebovitz. (it’s fantastic over poached pears or even just vanilla ice cream). definitely go make it!
pros: I thought these were pretty good. the cookies by themselves are nothing special— a little bland, even a bit salty—but the super sweet marshmallow filling balances them out pretty well.
cons: these are soooo big! *why* are they so big? I know that’s supposed to be a whoopie pie thing, but really, I think these could be about half the size. also, do you see how bumpy they are? they didn’t come out anything like the perfectly smooth ones in the picture. I would have appreciated if they had said something about that.
notes for next time: a poster on the epicurious forum said something about smoothing each one with a wet finger, so maybe that’s what has to happen to get them smooth. and half the size, of course. i probably will make these again, maybe in the summertime when they’re more seasonally appropriate.
here’s the recipe. there were so many complaints about the filling on the forum that I used this Martha Stewart one instead. maybe next time I’ll make the Martha Stewart cookies.
pros: delicious. I made the pastry cream without the ground almonds so no one has to hear me whinge about how I want the cream to be smooth. Now it’s smooth!! The crust is perfectly light and flaky, even though it was in the freezer for weeks and weeks!
cons: absolutely none.
notes for next time: I wouldn’t mind more plums. the recipe is actually for Italian plums, which are a little bigger. I just used the red and yellow ones that came from my csa.
the crust is the almond sablé from The Craft of Baking, and the pastry cream/plum part is from Caprial Pence’s Caprial’s Desserts, which I can never find online. Just buy it!
pros: this cake is what I want to eat morning, noon, and night. it is the Platonic ideal of what a summer cake should be. Tender of crumb, moist, not too sweet, filled with summer berries! Yum!!!
cons: there are no cons.
notes for next time: I made a thinner glaze than the smitten kitchen blog did, and i kind of regret it. now i want a thick glaze, but it’s too late!!!! i should go eat some more cake to console myself. also, I should have just made buttermilk myself, instead of buying some at the store. i have *so* much milk on hand because of my csa!
pros: delicious, lemony cupcakes that are perfect for summer. I like having glaze instead of frosting for this cupcake. it gives it a real summertime lightness.
cons: that glaze was really runny, but that’s a pretty easy fix.
notes for next time: to fix the runny glaze, i would cut the liquid ingredients in the glaze by half. duh. this time I used all-purpose flour, even though the recipe calls for cake flour. i’ll use cake flour next time and see if it makes a difference.
pros: excellent crust. even though i totally manhandled it, it was still delicious. i also couldn’t wait for it to cool before i cut a slice, which is why it looks like a hot mess. still delicious (although not without its issues, which i’ll get into below).
cons: again, the texture of the custard was an issue for me. why is there almond flour in the custard? it makes it a bit gritty and ew. if you don’t mind that kind of thing, then this is the tart for you. i like a standard creamy, smoooooth custard.
notes for next time: this crust (almond sablé crust) + standard pastry cream or custard + cherries. here’s a link for the dough, and here’s one for putting it altogether into this tart.
pros: light, pretty healthy, delicious. perfect if you have a lot of seasonal fruit sitting around and need to do something with it before it goes bad. i also made this the night before with rhubarb — recommended!
notes for next time: this particular time I made it vegan (subbing earth balance for the butter), and Greg said it tasted very “healthy.” next time I will make it with butter and we’ll see if it gets the same comment.
redux: I’ve since made the pear with ginger variation and the apples and figs variation, and the pears with ginger is hands-down my favorite! It’s very handy to keep the crumble in the freezer and just dice up some fruit and throw it into the oven for 40 minutes (while you’re eating dinner). A perfect weekday dessert. One thing, I really like to take the skin off the apples and pears, which adds to the prep time, but in my opinion, is so worth it!
Strawberry Almond Tart pros: delicious! it’s the perfect summertime tart if you’ve got some nice fresh strawberries around!
cons: none that I could taste
notes for next time: I put in too much almond extract in the pastry cream (2x the recipe — careless!) and it was a bit much. which i guess is why the recipe was written that way. also, the rum was a little overwhelming, so maybe decrease that by half. i would have liked to have the ground almonds in the crust instead of in the pastry cream, since I like it when the cream is smooooth. so next time, i would try it with the nut pâte brisée instead of the pâte sucrée, and get the nuts in that way.
I couldn’t find a link to the recipe, but it’s from Caprial Pence’s fantastic book, Caprial’s Desserts.