Sunday, January 9, 2011

Melt in Your Mouth

Holidays are always a great time for great meals... And of course great desserts must follow. Recently I found myself noting that I had a beautiful (if brisk) day open for an ambitious kitchen project beneath the skylights of my kitchen.

Meringues are reputed to have a decidedly finicky temperament. The day must not be too humid or too dry or to cold or too warm-- And some recipes stress the importance of the adding ingredients at certain times, some times seconds apart. In my search for the perfect recipe I found that the commitment ranged significantly; one of my favorite sources, thekitchn {} had a recipe that looked very precise.

The land of the Queen, 4 o'clock tea, and Doctor Who pulled through for the most accessible recipe, via their Broadcasting Corporation.

In 5 easy steps and an hr and 15min wait (spent on a spirited game of Citadels) we had 3 trays of decorative looking meringues! By far the least painful meringue experience I've had. (Though meringues are always self-gratifying because the piping is fun, though less sticky if you just drop dollops...)

You can avoid tears and scrapes on your nice cookie sheets by using parchment paper (amazing godsend of a baking tool)-- or if you're going green, try the reusable equivalent, SILPAT. Both options work so well that the meringues slip of the sheet.

Going for a fancier approach? Try for a nice chocolate dip. All you need is some chocolate chips, a pot, a stainless steel pressure cooker insert (or thin stainless steel bowl), and some cooking oil (canola or corn). Put 4 oz of chocolate in the insert to every 2 tbs of oil. Fill the pot with about 3 inches of water, so the insert floats and turn on the heat. Stir constantly until silky and turn off heat. Add proportionally 2 oz more of chocolate per 4:2 ratio above and stir in until melted, take out large chunks. Dip to your heart's content. Put dipped things in a cold dark place and it will set in about 20-30 mins.

Happy Piping!


PS. If you're in any country that follows the imperial system here's a useful website to convert.