Tag Archives: meringue

Au revoir janvier, bonjour février!

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.
~ Frederick Buechner

If you’ve read my blog for a long, long time, you may recall (vaguely) that I once made a project of cooking through Tessa Kiros’s “Falling Cloudberries”. As it is, I reached #62 with her champagne risotto… and mysteriously fell off the cookbookwagon after that.

I still feel a little bad about that.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll get around to completing that project. I’m considering the amount of $ that will go into this if I do it (and the resultant smaller budget for other things). I’m hesitant about the sound of a few recipes. I do not think I can afford to pour the necessary time into it if I am to live the rest of my life, love humans, see the light of day, work full time, and sleep too.

But if I find a friend who’ll force me to make stuffed fried herrings and then eat them with me, or a friend who will dry my tears as I burn my lingonberry jam crazy, perhaps I will pick up the project again. (Chances aren’t high though, if you must know).

In the meantime, I’m happy to share that I made something from her book, the first new Tessa-recipe I’ve attempted since… October 2010! Ding ding ding!
#63 Nut Meringue Cake with Whipped Cream – Page 268

I almost didn’t make it. When my eyes first fell on the phrase “you will need two springform tins that will fit in the oven at the same time”, I got ready to turn the page… you see, I’m a little afraid of sandwich cakes. Somehow I always imagine them turning into catastrophes… being too thin, looking stupid, getting uncomfortably “smooshy”, collapsing, etc.

But something about the recipe title caught my attention, too. “Nut meringue cake with whipped cream”… it definitely sounded like something different, something light and floaty and fun. Something challenging… I like challenging. Lastly, a two-tiered cake felt strangely apt for the day: saying bye to January and saying hello to February.

I followed Tessa’s recipe as best as I could (without kitchen scales) and modified a few things to use what I had (blueberries for raspberries, kahlua for vanilla essence, and 9″ cake tins in the absence of 8.5″ ones).

The two cakes came together pretty easily, especially with a handheld electric whisk that I still feel grateful for each time I see it! (Gone are the days of beating egg whites till my hand cries). The finished product was light-tasting, nutty and fragrant – and I like the cream and berries in the middle. I took it as a lovely compliment that most everyone ate and finished their slice even though we’d all already shared a marvellous carrot cake just before! (Yes, we ate two cakes in an evening).

The last picture in this post is courtesy a boy who made my cake blush with the number of pictures he took [so we could “tag” a girl on Facebook, who left early, and let her know that she missed cake]. (Thank you Daniel M).

Snowstorm in a bowl

I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, “What for?” I said, “I’m going to buy some sugar.”
~ Steven Wright

I set out tonight to make some golden caramel ice cream from the cookbook (which I will blog about tomorrow when it hopefully finishes setting in the freezer). The recipe required 4 egg yolks, and it would have been such a shame to waste the egg whites… so I decided to experiment with making meringues :-)

(Wow, the cooking fairy is really having a ball with me this week).

It was such a novel sight for me watching egg whites and sugar merging and becoming something at once a glorified version of themselves and yet so far removed from their former selves. They went from being gloopy transparent mucus and white sandy grains to becoming a silky voluptuous white ballgown, thick and complex, ready for a dance.

I started to imagine myself making snowmen on Grouse Mountain in Vancouver while I rained icing sugar on the mix through a sieve…

Finally, I so enjoyed making little ovals on the trays with the marshmallow mix – it was like painting baby clouds on blank baking canvases.

1 1/4 hours later, I am rewarded with 2 trays of coffee-coloured meringues. Sweet! Recipe below.

    Ingredients:
    4 egg whites
    1/2 cup caster sugar
    1 cup icing sugar
    Method to my madness:
    Preheat oven to 100 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper*.
    In a metal bowl, whisk egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

    Increase your whisking speed and add in the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously. It should be thick and glossy, a little like natural yoghurt. Do not overbeat.

    Fold in one-third of the icing sugar, then another third, then the last third. It should feel like you are stirring up a mid-winter snowstorm in a bowl… again, do not overmix.

    Using two spoons, ease ovals of meringue mixture (now glossy and a little sticky, like gently heated marshmallows) onto the trays – and bake for approximately 1 1/4 hours, until they are a pale coffee colour. Leave to cool. Eat with ice cream or whipped cream, perhaps?

    Yields 23 meringues.

    Note: I would advise the use of an electric mixer… it really is a little painful using a hand whisk/eggbeater.
    * Baking paper makes them stick too… oops. I hear parchment paper, though I’ve never used it before, works wonders.

I pried one meringue off to try it, and it protested loudly against being peeled off the paper… the bottom of it clinging to the paper like a very wet nappy to a baby’s bum. Hmmm… definitely need to give parchment paper a try next time!

The part of the meringue that I could get off the sheet was pretty delicious (think sweet crisp shell and perfect sweet marshmallow cloud inside), although I imagine it would be more deeply appreciated by someone with a VERY sweet tooth (not me). I was too full to finish the whole thing, but here’s a peek into what it looks like inside:

PS. In other cool news, my blog was featured recently on PocketCultures! Thanks Marie for the honour!