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May 18, 2013

COOKING WITH SIMON: Keep Your Cool with Summer Desserts

PALESTINE — Temperatures are finally on the rise and while the heat hasn’t set in yet, soon we’ll be longing for something cool.

In the summer heat there is nothing better than a light dessert. Plus we are all trying to cut back on sugar and take advantage of East Texas fresh fruit.

So what do you choose when you long for something sweet after you finish a meal? Pies are good but usually very sugary and heavy in your stomach along with everything else that is trying to digest. How about two desserts that are light as air on your tongue and in your stomach – and they’re pleasing to the eye, as well.

Summer pudding is one of my old English favorites made with fresh berries and white bread – plus no cooking. It’s just assembly, chill overnight and serve. Top with cream or Greek yogurt for a light and refreshing dessert.

And of course, the dessert I make the most – Pavlova. It’s the queen of desserts and as beautiful as a crown. Sweet meringue topped with cream and fresh berries. I make about a dozen or so of these every week, but each time I take a bite it brings back fond childhood memories from New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND PAVLOVA

Ingredients

10 egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 cups heavy cream, beaten to stiff peaks

2 cups assorted fresh fruit, kiwis, berries, cherries, star fruit, mandarin oranges


 

Direction

Beat egg whites until thick and stiff. Mix together sugar and cornstarch and add to egg whites one spoon at a time while continuing to beat the egg whites. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and draw 8” round in middle. Using a long spatula or knife, spoon egg mixture in the middle and carefully shape into a tall cake. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. When cool invert onto a plate, remove parchment paper and top with a thick layer of fresh whipped cream. Top with assorted fresh berries and fruit.

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