January 2010


LEMON MERINGUE

(Continuing our Meringue Dessert Escapade)

Another way to use the yolks left over from making the meringue shell is to have a lemon pudding on top.  We tried Betty Crocker’s (1976) Lemon Schaum Torte:

Meringue Shell (I used half of my favorite recipe)
3/4 C. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. water
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 T. butter
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/3 C. lemon juice
1 C. whipping cream

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan.  Stir in water gradually.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till mixture thickens & boils.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir at least half the hot mixture gradually into egg yolks.  Blend into hot mixture in pan.  Boil and stir 1 minute.

Remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon peel, and lemon juice.  Cool to room temperature.  Spoon into shell.  Chill at least 12 hours.  Whip the cream and spread on top.

Before the Whipping Cream:

 

We did not like this recipe.  There was a dry gummy taste to it, perhaps from the cornstarch?  And of course, I’ve never grated a lemon without scubbing my hand up, so I vote for avoiding this altogether!  Maybe if we found a different lemon pudding filling, it would be more appealing to us, BUT:  WHO CARES, WHEN YOU CAN HAVE PAVLOVA WITH FRUIT ON TOP??  Here are directions.

I DON’T–REALLY

Today when I was tidying up the house and cleaning things, I saw an interesting (and accidental) placement of the cat’s food dish–at the place where I usually sit at the table.

 

NO, I don’t eat cat food–HONEST.

PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE LITTLE ONES

I have a young friend with a cute little toy animal named Alistair.  She takes photos of his journeys, highlighting the seasonal changes of the year, and she has just sent me a calendar with Alistair on each month.  It’s delightful!

I have another friend, TobyBo, who takes pictures of her monkey Melrose in his escapades.

This makes me interested in trying my hand at it too, but:  what animal would I use??

My Younger Son immediately said that I should take pictures of Sharpie.

“WHO is Sharpie?”  I quizzically asked.
 
“YOU know.  SHARPIE,” he said as to one who is deaf.

Here is a photo of Sharpie. 

My son has a very strange sense of humor.

So we began to look around the house for someone photo-worthy, and the first thing we found was the cat’s toy. 

He is prime in many ways:  he has limbs, is very cute, and his color is good for photography.  But he is rather attached to his job description.

Next, we found a gorilla.  He’s not bad, but his dark color may pose quality problems in some lighting situations.

Our lion has some good qualities, but his expression is rather dull.  Thinking of something Narnian, I gather.

The Halloween bear is the only toy that is “mine.”  I like him very much, but he IS rather seasonal.  Definitely seasonal.

What do you think?  (Yes, I know, I have BETTER things to do)

At any rate, I put the little mouse on a postcard and sent him to my friend and her Alistair as a “Thank You” for their calendar.  Maybe that is as far as I will go.

From Pierre Mouse:
Greetings I send to you, my little Alistair friend.  I love to see photohs of yew, and here I give you a glimpse of mine own self.  You can see by my phoho that I am employed in the entertainment industry–theatrical performances a la gato, to be exact.  Best wishes to yew.

CHOCOLATE MERINGUE DESSERT

(Continuing our Meringue Dessert Escapade)

Next we tried a meringue shell with a chocolate insert, a recipe taken from my beloved Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 1976 printing.  This is a great idea, because it gives you something to do with the egg yolks left over from making the meringue.

 

CHOCOLATE MERINGUE TORTE from Betty Crocker

Meringue Shell  (I used half of my favorite recipe)
2/3 C. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 1/2 C. milk
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. chilled whipping cream
1/4 C. confectioners’ sugar

Blend sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan.  Combine egg yolks and milk; gradually stir into sugar mixture.  Add chocolate.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till chocolate melts and mixture thickens & boils.  Boil & stir 1 minute.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Cool to room temperature; chill 1 hour.  Spoon into shell.  Chill at least 12 hours.

In chilled bowl, beat cream and confectioners’ sugar till stiff; spread on filling.

I spread the meringue shell into a circle with a crater in the center and the sides built up, to hold the pudding.  This time around, I learned that it’s helpful to have wax paper underneath it, so it won’t stick.  Otherwise, you end up with secret folk standing silently in the kitchen, scraping and licking the cookie sheet. Better to get it inside the tummy first time around, I think!

We liked this one! 

The quick quick route to this recipe would be to put some store-bought meringue cookies in each single-serving bowl.  Add some store-bought chocolate pudding and squirt ready-made whipping cream on top.  The chocolate pudding wouldn’t be the same thicker and heavy chocolate as this recipe, but…pudding is NEVER bad, is it?

A NEW FLUFF BINGE

A year ago, I went on a meringue cookie-making binge.  I made plain ones and chocolate chip ones and peppermint ones.  The chocolate chip meringues are now the ones we make the most often.

This past holiday season I went on a meringue binge again–but this time with DESSERTS.  I’ve been branching out to try meringue desserts I’ve found here and there.  They have such a mixture of sweet and not-sweet and of fluff and crisp, it causes every bite to be ecstasy. 

On Christmas Eve, we tried Baked Alaska again.  We’ve tried this over the years, but it’s so bulky in the freezer, and I prefer to have my cake not frozen, so I don’t think we will be doing it again.  It’s basically cake with ice cream covered by a meringue.

Then we made Pavlova.  It is the BEST.  “Pavlova” is the Australian/New Zealand name for a meringue shell topped by unsweetened whipped cream with fruit on top.

After making a square one, we decided to cut it in half, so it’s not very attractive.  Our Fruit Designers had some strange ideas too, but does that affect the taste?  No way!

The meringue shell is crisp on the outside, but soft and rather marshmellowy inside.  It is sweet.  The whipped cream is smooth and not sweet.  The fruit is a mix of sweet and sour.  What a combination!

There are so many slight differences between recipes for meringue (especially the cooking temps & times), but I’ve found this one to be superb, so I’m stickin’ with it–with the recipe cut in half for a serving of 6 (I’ve heard that leftovers tend to get soggy, but we at our house wouldn’t know).

If you want a short short version of this, here’s what you could do:  Buy a container of ready-made meringue cookies and put some in each single-serving bowl.  Squirt ready-made whipping cream on top.  Add cut-up fruit.  Blueberries and strawberries and grapes are highly recommended, but ya do with what ya got.

YOU MUST TRY THIS AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFETIME!

 

MISCHIEF AFOOT

Today my husband hollered that Someone has been abusing the toilet paper and got it all wet.

Any ideas who THAT might be?

STILL DOING CHRISTMAS

For days and days we have had softly falling snow come down, just like the most perfect Christmas card you’ve ever seen.

Now it’s done.

All we are left with is this:

 

And this:

I will hate to see it go.

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