Saturday, July 28, 2012

Basic Swiss Meringues

Basic swiss meringue with whipped cream and berries.
I am not one to waste ingredients especially when a recipes calls for egg yolks only. While I was making my basic creme brulee, the first thing that came to my mind to use up the egg whites were meringues. Meringues are a dessert or cookie that is made up of egg whites and sugar. It's light and airy as well as crispy. I love meringues and they are so easy to make. I only make them when I make my  basic creme brulee that way I don't waste any eggs. I usually make them in mini sizes with a piping bag because I like to snack on them plain than top them with fruits. It's good either way.

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
Whipped cream
(I have a berry sauce recipe also)

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
**I did everything by hand just because I wanted an arm workout, but feel free to use a mixer**
Let the egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to fluff it up. With a wire whisk, begin whisking the egg whites in a circular motion at the fastest speed of your arm. Add vanilla and cream of tartar and keep whisking until soft peaks form. Switch arms if you need to. Gradually add in the sugar a little at a time while whisking. Keep whisking in circular motion to incorporate air into the egg whites (air creates the soft peaks in the egg whites). Keep whisking until all the sugar is dissolved and stiff glossy peaks are formed. This will take a while depending on how fast you are whisking. Very good workout!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop balls of the "cloud" onto the baking sheet. You can definitely pipe it if you want. It'll be prettier that way, but why waste piping bags. Using the back of a spoon, create a well in the center. Be sure all meringues are about the same size to ensure even cooking. This is where the whipped cream and the berries will sit. Bake the meringues on the middle rack for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours or until the meringes are set and dry. Turn off the oven and leave the meringes in the hot oven for about 1 hour. This will ensure any uneven cooking. Cool on wire racks. Fill the shells with whipped cream and fresh berries. I made a berry sauce which was perfect! I also made the whipped cream by hand.

Simple Berry Sauce
My simple berry sauce for everything and anything
6-7 strawberries
6-7 black berries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup water
Combine all the ingredients in a pan and bring it to boil. Simmer until liquid has reduced to half which can take up to 30 mins to 1 hour. Depends on how saucey you want your sauce to be. Let it cool before using.

Notice the bowl of heavy cream sitting ontop of another bowl
filled with ice. This keeps the cream cold and makes it easier
to rotate the bowl.
Hand-made Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar

Place a bowl on top of another bowl that's filled with ice. Pour the ingredients into the top bowl that's sitting on ice. With a wire whisk, start whisking as fast as you can while rotating the bowl to keep the cool temperature. Be sure to incorporate lots of air into the heavy cream. Keep whisking until the mixture looks like whipped cream and forms soft peaks.

For the whipped cream, I used the leftover heavy cream from making my basic creme brulee which was the perfect amount. I've whipped heavy cream before by hand in my culinary class before so I knew how long it was going to take. However, I've gotten a lot faster since then. If you have never made it by hand before, DO TRY. It's a great arm workout. It's all about incorporating air into the cream. You'll be amaze at how easy it is to make home-made whipped cream and you can customize your own.

Basic swiss meringues with whipped cream and fresh berries

I've made all kinds of meringues, but I didn't start taking pictures of my food until this year. Meringues are easy to change. You can add food colorings and different flavors. Just substitute the vanilla extract. Be creative with this simple dish. The new Twix Truffle candybars are made with meringues. That's what gave it it's light, crispy texture.

I purposely made the mistake of topping my whipped cream and meringue with my hot berry sauce. It was still hot and it started to melt my whipped cream. But I don't regret it. I couldn't wait for the berry sauce to cool down so I ate it warm. It was delicious!! The warm sauce melting the whipped cream and softening my meringue, it was heaven for me. Plus, I love messy food and I loved the way the sauce and the whipped cream formed a pool around my cloud of goodness!

I thought I show you all how I come up with recipes and how I write them down. This is why it's hard for me to keep track of them and have an accurate recipe. I do lots of testing and experiments so I have lots of recipes thrown away because they did not turn out quite as good. I write all my recipes on scrap papers. Mostly from papers that I've printed for my online classes so they're a little scrunch up. I've been very busy lately so I try to do my best to experiment and post up some recipes every month. This is a recipe I've written down while making it. The top part is a recipe for my tortilla rolls which I will post up soon. The bottom part, as you can see, is my simple berry sauce. This is one of my many many handwritten recipes. Also, I only write down recipes when I remember to.

This was one of the nicer looking recipes that I wrote down...
the other recipes were barely legible


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