It’s a sunny afternoon in the city, with a wide and kind smile, Sofia guides me to the kitchen and hands me her signature Café Latte (what else?) in a large porcelaine cup. The author & photographer behind the popular Latte Mamma‘s lifestyle blog is luminous in her high waist pink skirt & button-down shirt!
“Latte Mamma is a pink and very positive world. It’s a place where I aim to keep the negative away, (no religion, politics, money) it’s about finding the joy in the everyday moments.”
She describes her blog as a safe space, where people can go to feel relaxed and uplifted. “It’s not a representation of my whole life, and it’s not supposed to be either – it’s a part of it that’s meant to be joyful. These picture perfect snippets that I feel like sharing at the moment! The idea for the blog ignited a few years back at the country-house, while flipping through cooking magazines with her childhood friend. Gazing at the glossy pages, she exclaimed: “You can do this better! Why don’t you start a blog as you love writing and cooking?” Being the person that is frequently asked where to buy things from and inspiration for party planning, it just felt right.
The home is calm, freshly cut peonies sit proudly in a fragrant pose. The afternoon sun glimmers on a sliver tray nonchalantly placed on the windowsill. We chatter joyously about our love of cooking while the whipped cream is turning an aerial shade of white*. To Sofia, making food is a way to show her love to the people she cares about. By baking or cooking for them – It’s a way to show you care –
Food is so important to me. Cooking, baking ; whether for a dinner party or every day dish – I simply love it!
“Cooking runs deep in the family; my dad is an accomplished chef ! If we want good meat – we choose his home over a restaurant! My mom does not need to cook as he prepares lunch & dinner for them every day! He doesn’t need a recipe; he simply has this natural talent, he adds spices, tastes and adjust the flavors to perfection. As for my mom, I have this vivid childhood memory of her traveling back with cast iron dishes in her luggage, in which a rich Bolognese sauce would gently simmer all day.”
I love hearing peoples first memory of food making. When I inquire, she blissfully reminisces: “I baked my first cake at the age of 4 with my grandma who used to be a pastry chef, it was a basic cream cake “Täytekakku” with jam inside. When she started as a pastry chef in Finland 60 years ago, there was not so much fresh fruits available, they would decorate with canned fruits. This is the first thing I learned: crafting roses from canned peaches and how to pipe cream.”
She places the ingredients on the table, “I usually go with the flow” she laughs as she arranges the colorful berries gorged with sun and sugar. It’s wonderful to listen to her explain her process when she gets so animated talking about food!
“You see why I need a blog I just love to share and tell stories!”
A Latte Mamma’s berry Pavlova
“I chose this recipe because I enjoy making things that you whisk. When you start with something liquid and as you whip it, the foam peaks up; it feels like magic to me. I like how airy it is; it just makes me happy! This Pavlova is among those recipes that look intricate but are actually simple. The secret is to be organized and take your time. If, despite of this, making your own meringue makes you anxious, simply make the filling ahead and put it on top of ready-made meringue shells. You can also make a “trifle style” pavlova by crushing some meringue and the cream. You can make it ahead for a kids birthday party and customize it with chocolate; it’s a versatile and adaptable recipe!”
- for the meringue:
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup minus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- For the filling:
- 2.5 dl heavy whipping cream
- 250g mascarpone cheese
- Half a jar of Lemon Curd (or you can use my recipe instead)
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
- For the garnish:
- 500 g fresh assorted berrries
- optional: chocolate shavings, passion fruit…
- Powdered sugar
- optional: Some lemon zest and mint leaves
- Prepare a baking sheet with baking paper. preheat oven to 175°C
- Whip egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar, a little at a time, while continuing to whip. Once the mixture gets stiff and glossy, add corn starch and white wine vinegar and stir until incorporated.
- Divide the mixture between two large dollops on the baking sheet, spreading out mixture with a spoon or a spatula. If you feel up to it, you may also decide to pipe individual shells with a piping bag.
- Put the baking sheet with the meringues in the lower part of the oven and reduce oven temperature to 125°C. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, then turn off the oven leaving the meringue to cool completely, preferably over night.
- Whip the cream with powdered sugar and lemon zest until soft peaks form, add the mascarpone and the lemon curd to taste.
- Place the first meringue layer on a serving dish. Spread the cream and lemon curd mixture on top and place half of the berries. Add the next layer and repeat the previous step. Powder with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
I take a bite of the Pavlova. It’s a perfect combination of chewy and airy in a single bite,. The creamy and lemony filling perfectly balanced with the scattered passion-fruit seeds and late summer berries!
We spend the afternoon sipping coffee, comparing favorite pavlova flavors; and as a savory snack, crisp rye spread with truffle salted butter. Tasty reminder of our earlier kitchen episode*, when instead of whipping the cream to fluffy perfection, we ended up mixing it into a buttery surprise! Even when things don’t turn out as planned, you may just have found your next culinary discovery!
And just like that, I understand the Latte Mamma philosophy: “When life gives your over whipped cream, make truffle butter out of it!”
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