Mysterious Meringue

Lemon meringue cupcakes  has to be one of my favorites , but some people shudder at the word meringue thinking it holds this untold mystery that only well read cooks can obtain . wrong….

There are 3 types of meringue

  1. French meringue (uncooked)
  2. Italian meringue (partially cooked)
  3. Swiss meringue  (cooked)

Your probably thinking cooked and uncooked ?!? well yes just because you caramelize them all at the end does not mean they are cooked , its in the process’s

  1. French uses caster sugar , slowly incorporated into egg whites it also uses a stabilizing agent mainly lemon juice or cream of tartar   and is usually used as the topping in the classic lemon meringue pie, it can be cooked buy making meringues and letting them bake and dry out . I find it becomes weepy over time which tends to make the rest of the desserts its sitting on soggy .
  2. Italian meringue uses a hot sugar syrup , which partially cooks the meringue as the egg white cooks at anywhere between 63ºC – 65ºC , this type is usually used in the classic baked Alaska or the macaroon
  3. Swiss meringue is completely cooked , made buy combining egg whites and sugar over a double boiler , heating till all the sugar is dissolved , then whipping it up to get those lovely spikey peaks . this type is usually used in frosting as it does not require any baking , does not weep and lasts a lot longer than its counterparts .

Personally having tried these all , the easiest and most versatile is the Swiss meringue , it also has a smoother almost liquid marshmallow texture which I love .

Recipes :

French Meringue 

Ingredients :

  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Method:

Whisk  egg whites,  and cream of tartar with a mixer on medium-low speed until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until sugar dissolves and soft peaks form. Gradually increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff peaks form , lastly add vanilla . You can use it immediately or alternatively pipe it out on a sheet of baking paper , place on a pan and bake for 2 hours at 90ºC , turn off oven and allow to dry . Or use to cover a tea time favorite and add some colour by using a blow torch to caramelize the meringue 

Italian Meringue

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Method :

Bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook, undisturbed, until syrup registers 248 degrees on a candy thermometer.Whisk  egg whites with a mixer on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium, and whisk until soft peaks form .at a constant speed  pour hot syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream , once halfway Increase speed to high, and beat until stiff and glossy , lastly add vanilla . You can use it immediately or alternatively pipe it out on a sheet of baking paper , place on a pan and bake for 2 hours at 90ºC , turn off oven and allow to dry . Or use to  incorporate into  a frosting,macaroon or as decoration , add some colour by using a blow torch to caramelize the meringue 

Swiss Meringue 

Ingredients :

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract

Method:

Fill medium saucepan one quarter full with water. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer and not boil as it will cook eggs to quickly and leave streaks of egg  white in the meringue .Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of electric mixer, and place over saucepan. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch they usually double in size and become thick and glossy. Test by rubbing between your fingers – you should feel no sugar granules an it should be warm and light.Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use meringue immediately as if left it forms a crust .Or use to  incorporate into  a frosting, or as piping decoration , add some colour by using a blow torch to caramelize the meringue – this meringue is great as its marshmallow consistency make great smores, spiky cupcakes and is the most versatile of all .

I hope this helps shed some light on the age old mystery of meringue , and if a first you don’t succeed try try again .

My first time making french meringue I had to throw away 7 batches and finally got the knack of it on the 8th try , so don’t be afraid of a little egg white , with a little perseverance, patience and imagination – meringue can turn any dessert around .

meringe

Have a Cakalisious day

🙂

Tea Time Tidbit’s

I love the delightful combination of cranberry and orange , it is so refreshing and homey and good enough to serve at the mad hatter’s tea Party .

I find it brings a different element to the usual tea time treats of cream doughnuts and scones , which you could also spruce up with a few dried cranberry’s and freshly grated orange zest it is that versatile as a flavour combination .

tea time

 

Below is a recipe I have found that works for tea loaves and muffins

Cranberry and Orange tea time muffins 

makes:

muffins : ±24

Loaf: 2 medium loaf tins

Ingredients 

500 g Cake  flour  (mix half almond flour and cake flour = Delicious almond flavours that works wonderfully with cranberry and orange )

20 ml baking powder

400 ml caster sugar

250 ml vegetable oil

4 eggs

250 ml orange juice

5 ml vanilla

125 g – 175 g dried cranberry’s (add to taste as i like mine loaded with them 🙂 )

zest of one orange (usually 2 tablespoons worth )

Method 

  1. line a loaf /muffin tin with butter and flour or muffin cups if you are planning to entertain .
  2. preheat oven to 180 degree’s Celsius
  3. sift flour and baking powder together and set aside
  4. whisk oil , eggs and sugar till thick , light and fluffy , add vanilla at the end
  5. add flour mix to oil mix and fold in
  6. add orange juice slowly as you are folding in
  7. add cranberry’s and zest (i find micro planing the orange produces a finer zest that is not so over powering )
  8. place in loaf tin or muffin cups , keep in mind if you place in a loaf tin the cooking time will increase
  9. Bake muffins in oven 180 °C , on middle shelf , for 25-30 min until a knife comes out clean , if you bake it in a loaf tin it takes approximately an hour  .

♥ To SPICE it up add some ground cardamon or grated nutmeg to really give that something extra .

This is a great summer and Autumn tea time treat , and easy enough to get the kids involved in beginners baking .

Have a cakealiscious day

😉

 

Memorable cake toppers

Nothing describes the generational differences better than cake toppers .

hey have become intricate , funny and personalized , not your usual cookie cutter run of the mill cake toppers .

Here are a few that that caught my eye .

This reminds me of a couple of stories I’ve heard from friends saying ‘ I should not have taught her to ….’ I could think of a couple endings …. fish,shoot,drive ha ha there are many MANY MORE .

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I love this because it shows not all marriages are picture perfect , the older cake toppers gave that false sense of a fairytale ending while in actual fact , every partner to a relationship has their good and bad qualities , the fact that you are marrying that person just shows you accept both and love both , so even though this is a tongue in cheek topper , its  symbolism has far greater meaning than any traditional cake topper will have .

 

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The Millennial’s – always connected .

 

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We joke about who wears the pants in the family , I love that this is true and honest .

‘My big fat Greek Wedding quote ‘ –

Toula: Ma, Dad is so stubborn. What he says goes. “Ah, the man is the head of the household!

Maria: Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.

 

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actions speak louder than words ….

 

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Dare to be different , colours , shapes sizes , a perfect wedding is not a memorable one , a wedding that best describes the celebration of your relationship is memorable , so if your into Harley’s or Dogs make it a memorable one by being the best YOU ,you two can be .

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I would love to hear your thoughts and pictures of any MEMORABLE cake toppers you have come across .

Have a cakealiscious day 😉