For Mother's Day, Svitlana Flom, Editor-in-Chief of Art de Fete, is offering colorful décor ideas and recipes as inspiration for an elegant in-home Mother's Day celebration. Svitlana's tablescape features Bernardaud porcelain tableware, flower arrangements, and chic accents. Svitlana is also offering one of her favorite original recipes: Chocolate Meringue with Strawberries.
One of the most universally loved annual holidays is the Mother's Day. It is the day of total celebration of motherhood, womanhood, love, beauty and warmth. So it is not surprising that I chose to collaborate with Bernardaud, a fine French porcelain brand, to create special Mother's Day tablescape for a celebratory lunch or dinner.
Set the foundation
Think peach, pink or yellow, light purple or light green colored tablecloth for the Mother's Day table decor. Find that perfect canvas to go along with springtime and warmth of this holiday. I picked the softest fabric in linen and made my own tablecloth to accentuate the dashes of purple on the Bernardaud's plates and my amethyst-colored water glasses at the table.
Unusual fusion of modernity and tradition comes together in this place setting. I mixed two different collections to create this brilliant setting. As the foundation I used Bernardaud's Frivole collection with its sprawling light green leaf design and imaginative amethyst pattern which is daringly original and faintly feminine.
Vary the heights of your tablescape by using various size vessels and stands. For instance, elevate spring flowers by placing them in an unusual vessel to create a magnificent centerpiece. I improvised and used a soup tureen for clasping a generous bunch of lilacs, peonies, tulips and roses and filled the adjacent space with two small mismatched crystal-cut antique bowls with flower frog grate to hold some of the leftover blooms.
Anemone is a very delicate flower with oval shaped petals and an unusual dark round center. It comes in a variety of colors including white but my favorite remains jewel-toned shades of purple, fuchsia and even blue. When selecting Anemone, look for a bunch with the buds still close. It will open up once placed in the sunlit spot. Cut the stems on a 45 degree angle with a sharp knife under cold running water and if possible, use the flower on the day of purchase to take advantage of its freshness. Unfortunately, this beauty doesn't have a long vase life but will definitely make your centerpiece pop. Add some lush peonies to your arrangement; once the flower buds are open, their silky petals will create the fullness and add an element of femininity, ease and beauty to the arrangement. I used graceful coral-colored blooms (called Coral Charm) with sunny golden center and Tree Peony, sweetly scented in light pink. Another spring bloomer is lilac. These unpretentious flowers have a wonderful spring smell and will add a different texture and shape to the vessel or the vase in the most endearing way. Finish off with Big Fun Roses!
One of a kind
An elegant way to serve your brunch coffee is to use demitasse cups and saucers. I acquired my delicate English set at a very charming antique shop on the lively Royal Street in New Orleans, a place famous for its selection of such stores. The light purple saucers and cups with delicate golden rims embossed with white bas-relief ornament at the rim enhanced the entire setting. By mixing different collections, old and new, modern and traditional, you will create an unforgettable, one of a kind place setting.
And to guests delight, serve this light double-tiered Chocolate Meringue with Strawberries and tangy Greek yogurt-based whipped cream topping! Meringue must have been one of my favorite and easiest desserts to make. It is beautiful in its presentation and otherworldly delicious.
Chocolate Meringue with Strawberries
To make meringue:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 ½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces dark chocolate with currants and almonds, melted and cooled
Pinch of salt
for whipped cream
2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 cup Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons confectioners' (icing sugar) sugar
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
1.Preheat oven to 300 F. Using an 8 and 7-inch round cake pans (or bowls) as a guide, trace two perimeter of the bowl onto a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer parchment paper, pencil side down, to a baking sheet. Set aside.
2. three bowl method: Using an egg separator, separate one egg white into a small bowl, drop the yolk into a different bowl and transfer the egg white into a large bowl. Repeat with the rest of the eggs, it will help to prevent egg yolk from getting into whites. If you don't have egg separator, proceed with the old school, use the same three bowl method by cracking eggs one at a time and carefully pouring the yolk from one shell to another until the whites are in the bowl, repeat the process for the rest of your batch.
kitchen tip: It's easier to break cold eggs, once whites are separated, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate egg yolks for another use. If you are in a rush, put the bowl with egg whites over a large bowl with warm water for 10 minutes.
kitchen tip: Egg separator is an inexpensive kitchen tool, which helps to minimize the spread of any bacteria from the shell. I purchased mine at Sur La Table.
3.Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt starting with the low speed and gradually increasing to medium high until the beaters leave stiff glossy peaks when you pull them away from the bowl. Take care not to over whisk the whites at this stage.
4.Continue whisking while adding superfine (caster) sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating well between each additional spoon. Once all the sugar is added, whisk for further 6 minutes or until the mixture is stiff and glossy. The meringue will start turning from fluffy to thick, and will have a pearly sheen.
kitchen tip: In the absence of caster sugar, use food processor or spice mill to grind regular granulated sugar to a desired consistency.
5. Sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula in a figure-eight motion, keeping the light touch not to break the air bubbles. Pour the melted chocolate down the side of the bowl in three batches and very gently fold it in. 6. Mound the meringue in the center of two circles. Using a spatula, evenly spread meringue out towards the edges. Transfer baking sheet to oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside. Leave in the closed oven to cool completely. Small cracks will appear. 7. To make the topping, whip together the cream, yogurt and remaining confectioners' sugar until thick but not stiff. 8. Swirl the cream mixture over the top of the meringue tier, then top with sliced strawberries. If desert, make some chocolate shavings and top with the second meringue tier. Repeat with the remaining cream and strawberries. Make more chocolate shavings and finish sprinkling with coco powder on top. Serve immediately!
Make sure that your mixing bowl and whisk are spotlessly clean and free of grease. Never use a plastic bowl, as grease can hide in scratches in the surface, even if the bowl looks clean.
It is important that the eggs are fresh and brought to room temperature, as this will help the egg whites to become more voluminous when beaten. Carefully separate the egg whites from yolks while still cold, try not to contaminate the clean whites while breaking the eggs. Once separated, cover the egg whites and let them come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).
When the mixture is thick and glossy the sugar should be completely dissolved. To test, simply rub a little of the mixture between your fingers, if it feels gritty continue to whisk.
Pavlova will last for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature.
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