Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meringues Chantilly

While not deep within the pages of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Meringues Chantilly are light, heavenly clouds of creamy, sugary egg whites beaten into a frenzy.

The concoction of my 2nd favorite cook, Ina Garten, Meringues Chantilly are but the vehicle to carry something else that's delicious. Exactly what, I don't yet know. But for now, they'll be on the menu for New Year's Eve. I'm not quite convinced I'll adorn the meringues with roasted berries, but perhaps Creme Anglaise or Pralin (caramelized almonds). Although my history with caramel isn't a raging success, I'm feeling brave and boisterous.

I prepared the baking sheets as directed, using a 3 3/4" circle. I enlisted a trick by sprinkling a few drops of water onto the sheets to keep the parchment from moving around.

Meanwhile, I began beating the egg whites in my stand mixer with the whisk attachment. However, I had one BIG problem brewing. I thought I'd be frugal and use some remaining carton Egg Whites. Recalling from memory that 1/4 cup of Egg Beaters equals approximately one egg, I poured a cup of the egg whites. Turns out, one cup of egg whites equals approximately 5 1/3 egg whites (versus the 4 called for in the recipe). Rather than working the math to adjust the remaining ingredients, I dumped and started over. After all, there's no shame in failure. There is, however, failure if you don't jump back on that wooden spoon and go for it.

Even before the long, slow baking, they look beautiful.

My recipe didn't quite yield the 8 meringues the recipe indicated. Instead, I wound up with 7, with one being purposely formed for my little, 2-year old chef in training.

Now, still to ponder the proper adornment for these beauties.

Following the required cooking and resting-with-the-oven-door-closed time, the meringues turned out good.

I'm still considering what to put in the meringues, but leaning towards Crème Anglaise and Hazelnut Pralin.

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