Raspberry Pistachio Mini Pavlovas

The first time I came across a pavlova was when I used to bake for a team of account people in my advertising agency days. It was my teammate's birthday and she was Australian so said her favorite dessert was the pavlova. Upon researching what a pavlova is, I learned that they are these amazingly delicious AND gluten free desserts that are egg white meringues topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. I feel in love with them because they're pretty easy to play with once you get the ratios down for add-ins and then the toppings are endless! 

I love making really big ones for dinner parties or group occasions. You can also make mini/individual sized ones depending on how many people you're feeding or save the pavlova base and enjoy over 3-4 days! 

The only catch is once you assemble these desserts, they're quite delicate so will need to eat it right away. This won't be hard since once you take one bite, it will be difficult to resist. The incredible part about eating these desserts is they actually make you feel LIGHTER. It doesn't get better than that! 

For this recipe I went with pistachio and pomegranates because I love the colorfulness of this combo. It's so perfect for the holidays and delicious together!  You will need a mixer for this recipe and patience. These meringues bake off on a low temperature for about an hour, sometimes longer depending on your oven. You also don't want to make these in big batches unless your oven and mixer can withstand the capacity. 

Raspberry Pistachio Mini Pavlovas
Yields 5-6 individual 3.5" pavlovas. 

Pavlova Ingredients: 

  • 90g egg whites, room temp 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 150g white granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups raw, unsalted pistachios (the greener the better) 
  • 25g white chocolate, chopped 

Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups whipping cream 
  • 1/4 cup créme fraché (optional)  
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted


  • Fresh seeds 1 large pomegranate 
  • Extra finely ground pistachios 
  • Honey 

Pavlova Base: 

1. Preheat oven to 355 F. On a piece of parchment paper, trace 3 or 3.5 inch circles spaced at least 2 inches apart with a pencil. Should be able to fit 4-5 of them comfortably on each baking sheet. I like to use cookie cutters or a smaller biscuit cutter as a stencil. Feel free to make them smaller if desired but limit to 2 sheets in the oven. 

2. Chop white chocolate into small pieces and set aside. Make sure they’re small enough to fit through your piping tip. Add your pistachio nuts into a food processor and process until fine. Careful not to go too far with the nuts as you do not want pistachio paste. Set aside chocolate and ground pistachio. 

3. Place room temp egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated and continue to beat until the egg whites become stiff and glossy. Don’t over beat the egg whites or they will separate. When you can hold the mixture upside down without it falling out, it’s done.

4. Add white wine vinegar, cornstarch, chopped white chocolate and ground pistachio. Using a large spatula, fold in ingredients very slowly and carefully. Don’t over mix or you will deflate the egg whites.

5. Using a little pavlova mixture, apply on the corners of the parchment paper (same side you drew on, then flip over parchment paper so it’s pencil side down on a baking sheet.

6. Add mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip. Pipe into the circles and clean it up with an offset spatula. Make sure you are FILLING them completely when swirling. Don't want any air gaps in any of the shells. 

7.  Place piped pavlovas into oven on the middle racks, then immediate drop the temperature to 285F. Bake for 1hr to 1hr to 1hr 15 minutes until the outside of the shells are firm/dry. The way to tell when the Pavlova is done cooking is when it looks crisp at the edges. The tops will be dry but if you press on the underside it’ll give a little since the centers are still soft and squishy. If you tap them lightly they should also sound a little hollow.

8. Place the pavlova back in the oven and leave the door slightly ajar so the pavlovas can cool slowly to room temp in the oven. (Should take another 35 minutes) If you remove from a hot oven you run the risk of your shells deflating. Shells last up to 4 days in an air-tight container. 

9. When ready to eat, prepare your whipped cream. Add heavy cream, créme fraché, vanilla extract and sifted powder sugar into a chilled mixer bowl. If you're not using créme fraché, you'll still have lovely whipped cream but it's not as shelf stable in my opinion. 

10. Using a whisk attachment, whip on medium until you reach a soft peak. I like to mix the rest of my whipped cream by hand with a hand whisk so I can control the exact stiffness of the cream. You want a soft billowing whip but still firm enough to old it's shape and toppings without weeping. 

11. Top fully cooled pavlova base with a hefty dollop of vanilla whipped cream. Sprinkle on fresh pomegranate seeds, pistachio grounds and a touch of honey on each pavlova to your liking. Serve and consume immediately upon assembling. 



Whole Grain Sonora Buttermilk Fig Scones

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I recently finished organizing the 2017 Gourmandise Grain Conference in Santa Monica a couple weeks ago. Through that experience, I was invigorated to get on the whole grain train and develop a recipe that I can use time and time again to help spread the word of how AMAZING whole grain baked goods are! 

I'm not an expert baker whatsoever but I love experimenting! If you have been baking for a few years or even a beginner, start getting into whole grains if they are accessible to you! Consider getting flour from local LA miller Nan Kohler who owns Grist & Toll or contact the Tehachapi Grain Project and any number of other California farmers who are growing their own heritage heirloom grains. More often than not, the flour ingredient is seen as a white canvas when you're baking and I learned how to infuse flavors with the additional elements like fruit, infused creams or chocolate. BUT the game changer is when your flour complements your other flavors... almost like how a glass of wine can bring out amazing depth to the steak you're eating. 

I came up with these whole grain scones because baking with whole grains doesn't have to be scary! It can actually result in the most delicious scones ever. So I've been told. ;) Keep in mind you will need to let your dough rest a bit more than traditional flour and the main difference is in hydration. Try this out with your whole grain flour and let me know what you think! My recipe featured a beautiful Sonora whole grain flour from Tehachapi Grain Project. 

Whole Grain Sonora Buttermilk Fig Scones
Yields 12 scones


  • 2 cups fresh black mission figs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 680 grams whole grain sonora flour 
  • 100 grams granulated sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 350 grams unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes (slightly more than 3 sticks) 
  • 2 cups buttermilk  (or 2 cups whole milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice) 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Scone wash: 

  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream 
  • 1 pinch of salt 
  • More sugar for dusting 

1. Prepare the figs by dicing them into 1/2 inch pieces. I cut mine in half, then quarters, then sliced each quarter into 2-3 pieces depending on how big they were. Lay all the diced fruit on a piece of parchment paper on a single layer and stick them into the freezer. Want the fruit to be frozen so they don't get smashed when you mix them into the dough later. 

2. Prepare another sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. This will eventually hold your cut scones. In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and salt. Whisk together to incorporate your dries. 

3. Add butter to your flour mixture and start to cut your butter chunks into the flour. I like to do this method with my fingers so I can control the size of the butter chunks. Alternate between tossing everything together then press the butter and flour together. Work quickly and stop pressing the butter into the flour when they become pea sized. The mixture should look mealy and chunky. 

4.  Add half of the buttermilk amount and toss around in the flour to incorporate. Remove frozen figs from the freezer and add into the flour butter mixture, then add the rest of the buttermilk. Continue to mix with a spoon or your hands (if you don't care about getting messy). If the mixture feels too dry and not holding together, add another tablespoon of buttermilk. 

5. Lightly dust your tabletop with flour and dump out the dough on your surface. This is where you want to be careful with NOT overworking your dough or you'll end up with tough scones.

6. We're now going to incorporate some folds into your dough. Two folds to be exact. Pat down your dough to a rectangle that is about an inch thick. Fold the dough rectangle in half on top of itself and using the heel of your palm, press the dough down back into a rectangle that is an inch thick. Repeat the fold on the opposite end and press down with your palms until the dough is about 2 inches thick. Keep in mind you'll want the shape of the final dough to be a long rectangle so work toward that as you're incorporating your folds. 

7. Using a large kitchen knife, cut triangles out of your long rectangle and transfer on to your lined sheet pan. Cover in plastic wrap and freeze overnight or at least 2 hours. 

8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F. Make your scone cream wash by adding a pinch of salt to your heavy cream. 

9. Add scones to a new parchment lined sheet pan and brush only the TOPS with your heavy cream and sprinkle with more granulated sugar. 

10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the scones are lightly browned on top and develop a darker crispy bottom. 

11. Enjoy fresh out of the oven! 


Black Sesame Macarons

When I was deciding what desserts to make for my final showstopper, I knew it was one of those go big or go home type of moments. I've made macaron a few times over the course of my baking days and I gotta say I've definitely had more disasters than successes! So WHHHYY did I choose this? I believed that if I could nail one of the most difficult desserts while baking under stress and in a TENT, that it would really prove to myself that I really do deserve to win that title. 

For me the last showstopper really was the culmination of me reflecting on all the people who have helped me get to where I am today. Not just baking but in life. The brief was to come up with 36 mini desserts for a winter celebration and I knew that I wanted to bake for everyone that I love. Filming in the U.K., it was extremely difficult to experience one of the most difficult things I've ever done without a single loved one near by. (Which is why the bakers end up getting so close!) 

Being Chinese American, I grew up eating black sesame desserts! My favorite are Tang Yuan, which are rice balls with black sesame filling that you eat in a rice wine soup and these are typically eaten over Chinese New Year. Whenever I eat these I think of my family so it was an obvious pick to make macaron with black sesame where I could use the powder to flavor the shells. Black sesame is also one of those amazing flavors that pairs well with subtle sweet flavors that can play off it's earthiness and complexity. I always wanted to bake with champagne so made a buttercream filling that has the light, sweetness of honey but something tart to balance it being the champagne. 

This macaron recipe is a bit more forgiving because it's using an Italian meringue method vs French meringue. That means you're creating a sugar syrup for the whipped egg whites vs adding in granulated sugar directly to the egg whites. I knew this was my only chance of nailing it in an environment that could have been high humidity and uncontrollable. 

Hope you guys have just as much fun making these at home. I definitely look forward to making them again NOT in a tent. ;) 

Recipe at ABC