Monday, November 10, 2008

Meringue Magic

The last 4 sessions of Holiday Baked Treats, a demo class, will be held at Shermay's Cooking School on 22 November 2008 (Saturday), 23 November 2008 (Sunday), 6 December 2008 (Saturday) and 7 December 2008 (Sunday) - the November and December schedules have all the details. For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or email

As mentioned here, getting the hang of meringue alone opens up many other possibilities, all detailed in the bonus section of the recipe pack. I like to think of it as a fun guide to some fabulous holiday ideas.

There is something magical about meringue, that a substance comprising of ingredients as ordinary as egg whites and sugar can be transformed with whisk and air into dreamy clouds of lightness, featherweight yet capable of being manipulated into virtually any shape you fancy with kit no more sophisticated than a piping bag and nozzle. Call me simple-minded, but I honestly do think it's fundamental kitchen alchemy at its essential and fascinating best!

Aside from covering techniques for meringue cookie shapes like poinsettias, shells, kisses and porcupines,

I've also included 2 recipes for filling cookie pairs - Salted Caramel Filling and Peppermint Chocolate Filling both make for scrumptious meringue cookie sandwiches.
The salted caramel recipe is the same multi-purpose and versatile one I call upon for filling everything from pastry cases to macarons to layer cakes to shortbread cookies (such as here). Caramel au beurre salé's as much pastry shorthand for chic as it is outrageously moreish. And I am thrilled to know I am not alone in my addiction; after yesterday's session, a very lovely lady, L, came up to me to say "I'm going home to make buckets of this tonight!" Two others in attendance, S and D - good friends, super stylish, and self-confessed Francophiles - I already know to adore the stuff as the subject is a recurring theme in all our conversations!
The fillings can also be used for meringue tartlet shells. Alternatively, the shells can be finished with preserves, marmalades or citrus curds of your choice.
And of course, there's mini pavlovas. Filled with whipped cream and red fruit macerated with framboise or kirsch and a splash of rosewater, it is as easy and festive as dessert gets.
A slightly more time-consuming project would be meringue boxes - beautiful edible holders for scoops of ice cream or sorbet.