Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meringues Chantilly--Barefoot Bloggers

This month's second Barefoot Blogger's recipe, Meringues Chantilly was selected by BMK from Reservations Not Required. I was a bit nervous about this one, only because of the humidity level here in Hawaii. I made smaller meringues here once, and they had a bit of a "chew factor" to them so I had concerns about how the larger "nests" would turn out. It took me two attempts, (the details are in the Notes/Results below), but I got it; crispy meringue shells and a beautiful, elegant and tasty dessert.


(This recipe can be found at the Food Network site here or in Barefoot in Paris on page 176)

Meringues Chantilly
Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten
(Yields 8 Servings)

6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur, (recipe follows)
Stewed berries, (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.

Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.

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Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur:
(Yields 4 cups)

2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla and orange liqueur and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't over beat, or you'll end up with butter!

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Stewed Berries:

1 half-pint fresh blueberries
3 half-pints fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons framboise (raspberry brandy)

Combine the blueberries, one-half pint of raspberries, 1/3 cup water, the sugar and zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. The juice will become a syrup and the berries will be slightly cooked. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and the framboise. Set aside.

Notes/Results: I was keeping an eye on the humidity level to determine a good time to make my meringues and it was running in the mid-50%s most of last week. Finally on Sunday, it got to the low-50%s so I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I went to add the sugar, that the only sugar I had on hand was organic, which if you have not used it, is not bleached like regular sugar. I went ahead and used it and hoped for the best but what I got was some nice "antique white" meringue shells and they had a bit more chewiness than I wanted. After a visit to the store the next day, I decided to try again, this time with regular white sugar. Monday the humidity was about 44% and the second time was the charm, this batch was pearly-white, nice and crisp. (I don't know if you can tell the true color difference in the photo below but the organic sugar one is on the right--it looked much more yellowed in person). As suggested, I left both batches in the oven overnight which seemed to help with the crispness.


I didn't do much to make this recipe "healthier", again mainly portion control, making a half batch. I did lower the amount of sugar a bit in the berries. Fresh berries were expensive and looking not so fresh, so I used some organic berries (raspberries, blueberries and a few strawberries), I had in the freezer since they were going to be "stewed" anyway. I did use framboise in the syrup as I had it on hand but left out the orange liquor since I didn't want to buy it. I did grate some orange zest into the whipped cream, which gave it a nice flavor. I used the leftover meringue in my pastry bag to pipe some little stars for garnish. Although this recipe is a bit too "fussy" of a dessert for me to make regularly and I'd rather spend my "indulgence allowance" on good chocolate, it was tasty and fun to make. I liked the flavor of the berries (the extra will be going into a milkshake with some homemade frozen yogurt) and the different textures with the crisp meringues, combined with the soft whipped cream. 


Thanks BMK for a great pick that helped me work on my meringue-making skills. You can check out what the other Barefoot Bloggers thought of this recipe at the BB site here.

17 comments:

Suzie said...

Very impressive - making two batches. I couldn't avoid the humidity here at this time of year, but didn't have a problem. I let them cool overnight in the oven, and I didn't open the oven to check on them, so no humid air could get in. And then they went straight into a tupperware. They were all crispy and nice when I went to eat them.

K and S said...

looks delicious, I didn't realize that organic sugar would change the color!

shortbreadsouth said...

Very pretty. I usually use organic cane sugar, too, but I had some white sugar that I used for these. I might like the ones with organic sugar better! The berries were SUPER YUMMY!

Natashya said...

It looks great! I love desserts like this, you can have my chocolate. Great job, Deb! Meringues are not easy.

deltawhiskey.us said...

Oh, I think the antique looking meringues are cute! I really wish I had done the berries and cream now. I just couldn't justify spending so much on berries right now... wish I'd thought of frozen!

~Cat

Maria said...

I love all of the berries! Very pretty dessert!

Cathy said...

This looks beautiful, and so elegant! I could see the color differenc, but I think that both of them look pretty. I missed this recipe this week (actually, I missed BB all month!) but I definitely need to go back and give this a try! Great job! I think that deep down you really are a baker :-)

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

That turned out beautiful!

The Duo Dishes said...

Meringues can definitely be tricky. Yours turned out very well. Love the hit orange in the whipped cream.

Debinhawaii said...

Suzie--Leaving them in the oven was a great idea--I think it helped a lot for me too.

Kat--I had a fear it might and it was a pretty clear difference in the light.

sbs--the berries were yummy!

Natashya--thanks! It was good but chocolate always wins for me!

Cat--it seemed to work fine. I am with you though, the fresh berries were too much $!

Maria--thanks!

Cathy--I won't claim that! You should try this one though--you have mastered the egg white thing!

Alisa-thanks!

Duo-thanks! The orange was a nice touch with the berries.

Reeni♥ said...

It's gorgeous!! I love the little meringue on top. Your patience really paid off!

Gabi said...

Those look great- very elegant and delicious! Congrats on the tV appearance :)

Calm In The Kitchen said...

Time got away from my doing these. But, perhaps I'll give it a try for dessert tomorrow night!

Your dish looks wonderful...I wish I were in Hawaii!

Leslie said...

What a beautiful plated dessert! I like the way the meringue with the organic cane sugar looks. I think yours looks great on that beautiful blue plate!

BMK said...

Two attempts-that is dedication! Thanks for the tip on the organic sugar. Your look great!

Jude said...

Had no idea organic sugar had such an effect on meringues. Great post. The finished dish looks so luscious.

Tonya @ What's On My Plate said...

yours look so pretty! maybe the nicest i've seen so far!