Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Half-a-teaspoon: how to make meringues

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This Saturday I enjoyed one more Half-a-teaspoon class. Алена Спирина taught how to make meringues this time. Not that I didn't make them before, but the class turned out very insightful for me. We did the French, Italian and Swiss meringue based desserts and Алена made sure to give a lot of detailed explanations. I never really dug as deep into the meringues before. Маша agreed to that and added that still Алена doesn't believe when told that her classes give a lot of new information.


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We started from making cheese souffle. We just beat the egg whites to reach white soft foam. It's been a long time since I whisked the egg whites by hand. Now I know my hands are not at all as strong as I thought.

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In the meanwhile Алена made the souffle base (Bechamel sauce with grated cheese and egg yolks mixed in). She noted that one should always over season the souffle base with salt and pepper. Otherwise when mixed with egg whites the souffle will lack taste.

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While the base was getting mixed with the whites we buttered the souffle baking dishes and sprinkling them with grated cheese. In went the souffle mixture and the tray got stuck into the oven. This done we moved to the French meringue.

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The French meringue seems to be the most common one. It is made by whisking the egg whites with caster sugar. We used the meringue to make Floating island (French meringue baked on water bath and served floating in creme anglaise). In the sugar dusted dishes went the meringue. Then each baking dish got covered with baking paper and placed into a deep baking tray filled with hot water.

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While the French meringue went into the oven the souffle came out. It rose quite well, was soft an moist inside and had delicious cheese crust outside. It was gone immediately.

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Now the Floating island got ready. This meringue was different from the Floating island I had in Paris. It was more dense and had chopped wall nuts it it. I quite liked it. Even more then what I was used to before.

Having eaten the souffle we got some more energy and went to make Italian meringue. We cooked sugar syrup till 115C and slowly poured it hot into the egg whites, being beaten by Алена's beautiful Kitchen Aid. Then we used the glossy meringue to make Pavlova. Pavlova is supposed to be made from the French meringue, but we decided to give it a try.

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The room got filled with relaxed chat about kitchenware and meringue based desserts. Маша started a talk about macarons. Can one make them at home? How does one make almond flour? I just love this half-a-teaspoon atmosphere.

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Related posts and pages:

Crepe Suzette is burning!
Half-a-teaspoon: custards and icings class
Half-a-teaspoon pancake baking class

Moscow cafes and bakeries guide