Absolutely Nothing To Cook — MeringuesPosted: June 25, 2011
So thankful I am that summer is here and it is again possible to buy eggs from the farmer’s market — a pastel jewel box of eggs of different colors and sizes, all laid the day before by happy hens — that I have rather overdone it. Each week I cannot pass up the opportunity to buy one, or even two dozen (especially when she has huge luminous duck eggs). This has left me with an inevitable surplus of a perishable commodity and not much room in my fridge.
Last night I hit upon the perfect answer to my dilemma: meringues. SO simple to make, yet so delicious! Just four whites, when whipped with a cup of sugar and a pinch of tartar produces a giant plateful of airy delights. Whip the whites until just past frothy, then add the sugar and cream of tartar slowly until the mixture is pale and glossy with peaks. Dollop tennis-ball size blobs about 3 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
They can also be endlessly tweaked with different flavor combinations; switching some of the white sugar for brown sugar and a bit of espresso powder gave me these lovelies:
Try mixing in a bit of lemon oil or rosewater (and a teensy-tiny dot of pink food coloring, and sprinkle the tops with flaked almonds or chopped hazelnuts before baking. Bake for an hour at 275 degrees, until the meringues are a dry hollow shell with a chewy base. To serve, knock a hole in the top and fill with a flavored whipped cream, like a traditional Pavlova. I mixed a bit of chestnut puree into mine, but I imagine lemon curd or Nutella would also be absolutely delicious.
This only leaves the question of what to do with the four egg yolks you have left over. I made a herb omelet, but they can also be used to make the base for an egg custard which, when mixed with cream (and pureed strawberries or peaches, say) and frozen in an ice-cream maker….eggceptional. Serve with a meringue.