Here in the United States, cookies are the most popular treat during Christmastime. We were curious about holiday sweets in other countries, so we reached out to several of our international distributors and Wilton Method Instructors to learn more! In this 12-part series, a different country and traditional dessert will be featured each day. Today’s blog and recipe comes from Susen Lempriere. Susen is a certified Wilton Method Instructor and owner of Le Kitchen in Australia.
An Australian Christmas is all about summer, surf and sun. We are blessed with glorious, long, hot days during our festive season that fills everyone with good cheer and a warm summer glow! Christmas Day is all about spending time with family and friends and enjoying a typical Aussie feast. Whether it be a traditional roast dinner or a long, lazy seafood BBQ picnic by the beach, the meal is not complete until dessert is served. For me and my family, that always means only one thing – a big serving of pavlova!
For those who are not familiar with a good “pav” , it is basically a beautiful big meringue that is baked slowly to allow the center of the pav to develop a gorgeous, soft marshmallow consistency. Once baked, then cooled, my pav is topped with layers of fresh whipped cream and a selection of gorgeous, fresh, tropical summer fruits that are readily available at this time of the year. Sweet luscious mangoes, bananas, kiwifruits and juicy berries make this dessert always a showstopper at my Christmas dinners.
I love to see the big, big smiles on my family’s faces when I present my Christmas pavlova to them. It reminds me of the same feeling I use to get as a child when it was time for dessert! The best thing about a good pav is that the meringue shell can be made well ahead of time. There is no need to do the final cream and fruit decorations until you are ready to serve. So easy and who doesn’t like easy at this hectic time of the year?!
Since this treat can be decorated so many different ways, the recipe for actual pavlova is fairly straightforward. Taste.com.au provides an excellent pavlova recipe.
In addition to the pavlova, I also love making a croquembouche! It is wonderful for celebrations and is my favorite dessert, easy but delicious. It is the perfect choux pastry filled with patisserie custard and topped with a choice of callebaut caramel, callebaut white chocolate or toffee, depends on how I feel that day. Choux pastry, or pâte à choux, is a light pastry dough used to make profiteroles, croquembouches, éclairs. My husband and kids love it and the girls at Le Kitchen love it too. Magnifique!
1 egg yolk (for basting the dough)
1 cup flour
1 cup water
5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Pour the water into a saucepan, add the butter and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add the flour all at once, sugar, and salt. Beat vigorously with a spatula.
Return the saucepan to the heat for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the pan.
Remove from the heat and transfer the dough to the patisserie bowl with a dough blade.
Process for 15 seconds, then add 4 eggs, one at a time, and run for an additional 30 seconds.
Use a piping bag to make 12 choux (6 small ones and 6 large ones) on baking paper. Brush with beaten egg yolk.
Flatten the top of the choux with the prongs of a fork and bake in two stages: first for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and then another 10 minutes after lowering the heat to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool on a wire rack.
1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 egg yolks
35 g cornflour
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan with half the sugar and all the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yoks with the rest of the sugar and the cornflour.
When the milk starts to boil, pour a small amount onto the egg yolk mixture, stir, and then pour that mixture into the saucepan with the milk.
Bring to a boil again, beating it with a whisk the entire time.
Allow to cool for 2 minutes after it starts boiling, but continue whisking.
Pour the mixture into a dish lined with cling wrap, cover with more cling wrap, and allow to cool.
4 cups caster sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups water, divided
Stir 3 cups of the sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Cook, without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush for 25 minutes or until it is a light golden color.
Stir the remaining sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Cook, without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush, for 8 to 10 minutes or until it is a light golden color.
Fill each choux pastry with the custard and assemble the choux however you would like. Drizzle the toffee on top of the pastry, and enjoy!