Baking is such an exact science compared to cooking, unless you’re cooking using molecular gastronomy. Sometimes baking scares me. Particularly when it comes to making meringue topping. I have not figured out why I can’t count on my meringue coming out perfectly stiff and fluffy every time. It always tastes delicious, but sometimes it droops. Normally I am cooking for friends and family and don’t worry about how everything looks…but a few weeks ago that wasn’t the case. It mattered a lot to me that these little tarts looked gorgeous.
A new friend, C., who loves Tea With Betty, asked if I’d help her with preparing some petite sweets for a gathering at her house. We chose three items from the book that she really enjoyed. One was the lemon cream tart with meringue. She had them at the birthday tea we did last month and particularly wanted that item. Those tarts came out FABULOUSLY well…delicious, rustic, perky meringue mmmmm .. they looked like this:
C. was coming over to pick up her sweets for her dessert party…I boxed up the Deliciously Decadent Dark Chocolate Brownies (with pecans and Valhrona Chocolate) and my Macaroons made with Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened coconut and egg whites. I waited to top the tarts til just before she was to arrive so they would be fresh … but oops… the meringue wasn’t stiff. It tasted perfectly delicious, but kept sliding off the lemon cream. I think it needed to be chilled for a longer period of time as the remainder did firm up a bit when I checked later; however, she was almost due to pick up and this just wasn’t looking good. I began to panic and then thought…”Aha…why not try torching the tops and see if it stops them from sliding.” It worked, sort of… it also helped that I put them directly into the freezer after torching for about 15 minutes. The sliding abated. And surprise, the tops tasted like toasted marshmallows at a beach campfire. They were delicious too. Disaster averted. While I would have preferred a stiffer meringue, I like this toasted meringue a lot! I still want to get more comfortable making meringue though, will need to practice when there is no pressure.
All’s well that ends well. C. said her quilting group loved the desserts.
You might enjoy checking out Bob’s Red Mill website for some spectacular quality products, prepared with health and quality in mind. Whenever I can use their products, I do, such as their unsweetened coconut for macaroons. It makes a difference and this company works to ensure their products are the best.
After C. left, I sampled a few of the rejects with a cup of Jasmine Pearl Tea and relaxed.