Strawberry Meringue Tart

One of the best things I learnt in Le Cordon Bleu was Tarts and Pies. I absolutely love the concept of a fruit filling in crisp, flaky crusts and topped with cream or meringue. The rolled out pastry dough can be a bit tricky and needs some practice, but this pressed-in crusts are very easy to work with. Just mix the ingredients into a dough and press in into a tart pan.

This almond pastry is baked blind to a crisp biscuit like consistency and then filled with strawberries. You can replace it with any fruit you like say apples, mangoes, canned blueberry etc. If you don’t like the meringue topping , it’s beautiful though – soft and pillowy, you can top it with whipping cream and skip the last step of baking the meringue.

This recipe has been adapted from a book called Desserts which I had picked up at a flea market, many years back.

Strawberry Meringue Tart in an almond pastry

Strawberry meringue tart

What you will need :

For the almond pastry :

  • 2/3 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup (about 100 grams) finely ground and sieved almonds
  • 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Filling :

  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced or chopped (about 400 grams)
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar

Meringue topping :

  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup castor sugar

Process of meringue

What to do :

  1. Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch tart and a 5 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. To prepare the pastry, combine all the ingredients in a food processor or a mixer and process to form a stiff dough.
  3. Remove it on a plate and knead a couple of times till it all comes together.
  4. Firmly press it at the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Prick it all over with a fork and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Pr-heat oven to 170C and bake it for 20-25 minutes until form and golden. let it cool completely.
  6. To prepare the meringue, beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form. Gently beat in castor sugar.
  7. Combine strawberries and castor sugar.
  8. Now once the tart shell is completely cooled, pile spoonfuls of meringue on the edges of the tart. Fill the centre with the strawberry mixture. Now pile the remaining meringue on the top of the strawberries.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 220C for 10-15 minutes, till the crust is firm and the top of meringue is browned.

Strawberry tart full

Notes :

  • If you are worried about the egg whites staying undercooked, you can bake it for another 5 minutes, till it get firmer.
  • I have used unbalanced almonds, directly powdered in the mixture. I prefer the nuttiness of un-blanched almonds.
  • I used a 9 inch shallow tart pan and a 5 inch smaller pan because I had leftover pastry. If you have a deeper pan, it will all fit into a 9 inch pan.

 

 

What after LCB and Chocolate Mango Vacherin recipe

Last three Tuesdays I have been writing about going to Le Cordon Bleu, which was one of the turning points in my life. A dream come true. I look at baking in a different way now, I look at life a little different. But when my friends at LCB Paris used to ask me what I plan to do after the course, my answer was simple : I want to have a baby soon and continue with my day job as a CA while baking and blogging on the weekends. They were surprised at this answer. But yes, at-least in the near future I don’t plan to start any baking workshops, or a little cafe or any patisserie. And hence I bring you three stellar LCB alumni, my friends and such awesome chefs and pâtissiers that I gawk at their work. And they have been very humble in sharing their life journey with us, a big thank you to them.

In alphabetical order :

Michael Swamy

Michael Swamy

​Michael had just finished his diploma in hotel management and that’s when he decided to fine tune his skills by going to an international culinary school. He already knew that he wanted to do food styling, write books and be on TV. So to bring more authenticity to his work and writing, he specialised at LCB London and learnt the art of food and above all plating.

As a chef, Michael has worked with Taj Group of Hotels, Bombay Brasserie (London), Kuwait Airways. He has cooked & served several personalities including Prince Charles. Has been a corporate chef with the Bowl House Brand and now Mentor Chef with the Hopping Chef Brand which specializes in Home style fine dining. He is the author of “The East Indian Kitchen” (2010) based on Indo Portuguese fusion cuisine and“Easy Guide to Pairing Indian Food and Wine” ; both of them have been Gourmand award winners. And guess what, he also headed the food team for Masterchef India Season I and II. Apart from that he is a food critic and feature writer for several magazines, and does food styling and photo shoots for several international brands ,which is his favourite since he can get very creative with it.
Chef Michael says that his experience in LCB was exhilarating. He got to learn a tremendous amount and could also get training under renowned Pastry Chef ‘Chef Fillip Tibos’. He won the cuisine program in LCB on a scholarship after doing the Patisserie program. That is the talent of our super awesome and very helpful Chef Michael.
​In future, Chef Michael wants to establish a complete food media setup, for books, photography, creating food videos and wants to be an inspiration to budding chefs. Because he believes that teaching and creating helps future chefs come up and rise.
​In his own words, he would like to advice fellow LCB aspirants : “​Follow your heart and your dreams, don’t be shackled by corporate stuff, just rise and do your best and strive to be the best. The only person you have to beat is yourself and your limitations​.”
Well said Chef.
You can reach him at : michaelswamy.com
 ***
Neha Verma
Couture cakes @ Ellesmira and at Colette's studio, NYC.

Couture cakes @ Ellesmira and at Colette’s studio, NYC.

In 2010 Neha was working in MNC corporate marketing and while she was happy with her career trajectory, she was increasingly aware that she needed to do something more organic and creative with her life. That’s when she decided to flip a huge coin of fate and sought out LCB, Paris. Back then in 2010 the school/brand wasn’t that well marketed in India as it is today. So her motivation to go there was to have her “year in Paris” as well as get a solid foundation in French patisserie which everyone knows is the best in the world.
Her experience at LCB was magical and perfect. She got to hone her basics through the best chefs-including MOF’s, world-class teaching techniques and exposure to the cutting edge developments in the pastry world. She also made friends from all over the world and those endure till date.

Then Neha moved stateside and got an education in cake design. After which she apprenticed for a year under Colette Peters- the world-renowned pioneering artist in this field. Colette’s studio has made cakes for The white house, Whoopi Goldberg, Al Pacino, Yoko Ono, Sting, Kanye West, Rolling Stones etc, just to name a few.

Couture cakes don’t carry a standard pet kg price tag but she said that smallest and simplest averages at $1000 while the most elaborate ones have gone well beyond $15-20,000. (My god!)
Since then Neha has been practicing her skills traveling the world for inspiration, new experiences and to places where she gets to execute inspired projects. She works through word of mouth and through past connections and collaborations.

She realised that the solid foundation of her craft was formed at cordon bleu and the art aspect was honed at Colette’s cakes. The rest is a living tale which is still evolving under the name of “Ellesmira couture cake studio”.
So far she has done projects in Canada, USA, Norway, Greece, France, Czech republic, the Caribbean and India.

You can reach her at : Neha Verma

***

Rakhee Vaswani

Palate Culinary Studio

Rakhee runs a premier boutique culinary studio in Mumbai which has beautiful French vintage interiors with a warm kitchen feel. She is quite a self-taught chef over the years. She started very young in the kitchen sat the age of eleven. But she always wanted formal training and hence to enhance her skills and to take herself to the next level she enrolled in an extensive bakery programme at the London Cordon Bleu campus which has opened so many avenues for her and she considers it as her temple.
Rakhee first ventured into the culinary world with her partner chef Anita and ran a home based cooking studio. Then after taking a break to be a full-time mommy, she re-entered the industry after training at Sophia’s. Attending classes internationally changed her perspective and thus she wanted to open a small place where students could learn everything hands on.Hence Palate culinary studio was born in 2009 . Its seven years of successfully running the studio, she now wants to take it to the next level, i.e is a full-fledged culinary school. She is aware that not everyone can travel and achieve their dreams so at Palate she wants to bring higher level of courses like diploma in culinary to them. She also offers BBIC which is boutique bakery intensive certificate course with a full hands on experience to help small and budding entrepreneurs to set up their own ventures. Currently she has students from 5 to 80 year olds. Drop by her studio, perhaps you can see Malaika Arora Khan as her student.

You can reach her at : www.palateculinarystudio.com

*******       *******       *******       *******       *******

Chocolate Mango Vacherin

In continuation with French deserts with a tropical mango dessert, this week, is a French Vacherin with Chantilly cream and mangoes.

Mango Vacherin

Vacherin is basically a meringue filled with creme chantilly and fruits. I have used mangoes to go on top of these vacherin and the combination tastes summery and light.

Vacherin with mangoes

What you will need :

  • 5 eggwhites
  • 300 gm caster sugar
  • 25 gm cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoon caster sugar
  • Chopped mangoes

What to do :

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat oven to 140C for 10 minutes prior to baking.
  2. Beat egg whites at a medium speed with a stand mixer till frothy. Gradually add caster sugar and vanilla extract and beat till it forms glossy peaks.
  3. Fold in cocoa powder gently using a rubber spatula.
  4. Make round disks of this meringue on the parchment paper.  Keep a dent in the centre where chntilly cream can be filled. The dent can also be made using the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake these meringue nests for 50-60 minutes till crisp till the bottom. Then leave the oven door slightly open for an hour and let the meringues cool completely before taking them out.
  6. Then transfer the meringue to a rack and carefully peel off parchment paper.
  7. To make the chantilly cream, whip the cold cream till medium peaks and gradually add the sugar while whisking. Put it in a piping bag with a medium nozzle.
  8. An hour before serving, pipe the chantilly cream on the meringue disks and put chopped mangoes on top. Garnish with mint leaves.

Hollow of a vacherin

Mango Macarons and How I went to Cordon Bleu

There is a very talented Facebook page called the Home Bakers Guild, and for the next four Tuesdays I am the Blogger of The month. Each tuesday, I will post a new recipe and boy, I am working on a deadline for the first time.

My theme for the next four Tuesdays will be – “Tropical French Cooking – Classic French recipes with mangoes”. Those recipes which we learnt in Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and I adapted them to include mangoes. Our best thing of the summers.

A little about how I went to Cordon Bleu:

So I started baking 4 years back, a little after I got married, and then a year later I started harbouring dreams of going to a culinary school. I researched and read and talked to a few people and but of-course Le Cordon Bleu and Paris grabbed my attention and made a little home in my heart. But I am a working Chartered Accountant, and I had no idea how I would manage the three month courses. So I whiled away some time. Then husband and I started thinking of a baby (although, it was me who was struck by the I-want-a-baby syndrome at first). So a baby meant I bid farewell to my Paris dreams, atleast for a good 3-4 years. I had been talking to one Mr. Abhishek, who is the LCB representative in India. He gently kept reminding me of the deadlines of application. But I had to make a choice. Starting a family and having a baby or going to LCB and postponing baby plans by a year. I was 27. Time was running out. I made the choice. Lets have a baby (or two) before we are 30.

Then came the twist in the tale. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and the doctor advised to put baby plans on hold for a couple of months. When she said that, the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Now I can go to Cordon Bleu’. 🙂 Like Paulo Coelho said in the Alchemist, when you want something badly, the universe conspires for you to get it. And that came true for me.

Immediately I started planning for a sabbatical. I decided to do the intensive Basic Patisserie course, of 5 weeks. I applied, waited with bated breath and did a little dance when I was admitted. Now, funds had to be arranged, leave had to be taken, visa had to be applied for; and I had exactly 2 months before the course began. And I did not speak a word of French.

In a frenzy, I started all the preparations. I was buzzing with energy, making a hundred to-do lists and learning some French in the evenings. And as the day neared, I felt very nervous. I hadn’t stayed without my husband for more than 2 weeks and it was always he who used to travel. While I used to be at home. This time I was going to go for six weeks, and I had never travelled out of the country alone. Yes, I was wary, but deep in my heart I knew I had to go.

And what a blast I had! In the school as well as in the adorable city of Paris.

Now I have a little baby and going back to school for doing Intermediary and Superior Courses seems out of question. But just the other day, Abhishek told me that the biggest campus of LCB in the world is soon opening in Paris in 2016. My heart has again started to flutter. Who knows? 😉

For all those of you reading this post and wanting to know more about LCB, the curriculum, schedule, where to stay, what to expect etc , stay tuned. I will write in detail everything you want to know.

And then ofcourse you can ask questions.

*******       *******       *******

Mango macarons in a box

And with that I am be posting a recipe of Macarons. Now there are two basic techniques of making macaroons. One is the Italian Meringue (IM) method and the other is French meringue (FM) method. The former is a bit technical and cumbersome. It requires a candy thermometer to cook sugar syrup to a certain degree and then pour it into the eggwhites. Pierre herme uses this technique and also requires the egg whites to be aged for a week.

Mango Macaron held in hand

The second one, the French Meringue technique is fairly simple and can be whipped up effortlessly, with very brilliant results. And I felt that this technique yields macaron shells with a much lighter texture. Plus its easy! These macarons which are sold in Paris at 2 euros per macaron, can be very well made by you at home. Voila!

Macaron shells and filled macarons

Mango Macarons 

What you will need :

  • 75 gm egg whites (from about 2-3 eggs)
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • 100 gm whole almonds
  • 100 powdered sugar

Filling :

I used mango jam for the filling here, but any buttercream or even pastry cream will go very well.

What to do :

  1. Preheat oven to 150C preferably in convection mode (fan on).
  2. Grind whole almonds (with the skin) and sift it twice to ensure a smooth powder.
  3. Combine powdered sugar with almond powder and again sift it once to ensure there are no lumps.
  4. Now put egg whites in a bowl. Beat them with an electric mixer to medium peaks.
  5. Add caster sugar slowly while beating the egg whites and whisk to stiff glossy peaks.
  6. Add desired color. I added a a few drops of yellow + a few drops of red.
  7. Now sift the almond powder and sugar mixture into the meringue.
  8. Fold it in with a rubber spatula. If you leave the batter for 30 seconds, the contours formed from mixing should even out.
  9. Now cover a baking tray with parchment paper or silpat.
  10. Add the batter to a piping bag fitted with a 10-12 round nozzle.
  11. Pipe small amounts of batter on the sheet. leave it on the countertop for a couple of minutes.
  12. Then bake for 12-15 minutes. Open the oven door one after 6-7 minutes so that any trapped humidity is let out.
  13. Once baked take the parchment paper or the silpat off the baking tray and let it cool for a couple of minutes on the paper. Then with  spatula ease it off the paper.
  14. Fill in mango jam sandwiched between two macaron shells.

Notes :

  • The color in egg whites is suggestive of the filling. So since I used mango jam as a filling, I have used yellow + red color combination.
  • Macarons lighten in color as they bake. So use a little more color in the batter.
  • Do not open the oven door anytime before 6-7 minutes or the “feet” of the macaron will collapse.

Macarons on a plate

French Macarons : Need I say more?

If I am to name one thing that I miss about Paris, it has to be the petite macarons. Every patisserie in Paris, big or small had tons of these dainty little colorful cream filled cookies. I was (am!) crazy about them. Most evenings while walking back from le Cordon Bleu school, I would hop into a Laudree or Pierre Hermé, and get one single macaron. Come out, sit on bench and relish that almondy ganache filled cookie before going home.

Now the French Macarons (pronounced mah-kah-ROHN) are different from the Coconut Macaroons. Both names are derived from Italian maccarone or maccherone meaning ‘paste’, referring to the original almond paste ingredient. But the final outcome is vastly different. The french macarons are elusive, and I was told that many a Parisians also did not know how to make the perfect macaron. In most elite patisseries, the macarons are made from a centuries old recipe. But the sandwiched macarons as we know now, have supposedly been invented by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée, who, at the beginning of the 20th  century, had the idea to join two meringues and fill them with ganache.

The first time I tried a small batch of these macarons, I had very little faith in myself. I was sure that they might taste okay (its almond powder, sugar and egg whites, what’s not to taste good?) but they would not be photogenic at all. So I did not take any pictures. Duh. But then, just a few weeks later, I had to make them again. I just had to.

And here they are:

Macarons on top

These are still not perfect. But technically, they are there. Smooth tops, crinkled feet, a lovely pastel color and a generous amount of white chocolate ganache. What more do you need?

Now, it is not as complicated as people make it to be, but it is not very simple either. It takes some pre-planning, some sitting around time, and a lot of bend-over-the-workspace time as you pipe little rounds of the macaron shells by the dozen.

I studied the Pierre Herme macaron book and several other websites for a long time before I decided to use one recipe for Pierre Herme’s book Macarons.

One macaron

I will list out a few commandments for making these macarons. They are not exhaustive and every time I will be adding some more notes and tips and dos and donts. If you find any important must-dos, let me know in the comments section.

  1. The separated egg whites used to make the macaron shells have to be carefully separated, and should not contain any part of the fatty yolk, which makes whipping the egg-whites difficult.
  2. It is essential to use “liquified” egg-whites. Liquified egg-whites are those which have been sitting in the refrigerator for a week, so they lose their elasticity.
  3. To get perfect round shapes, you can make a stencil on a parchment paper with shot glasses and use that stencil underneath another parchment paper for piping the shells.
  4. I grind my almonds at home to make almond powder, and in that way I can use the best almonds and sieve it a couple of times to obtain a very smooth consistency. No crumbs at all.
  5. An electronic thermometer is essential, because the sugar syrup has to be cooked to a specific temperature and then whisked again with the egg whites till it cools down to a particular temperature. Any over-heating or over-cooling will disturb the macarons perfect texture.
  6. Sugar plays a crucial role in the meringue. If you decrease the sugar, the meringue will lose its stability.
  7. After piping the macaron shells, tap the baking tray on a towel on a kitchen counter, so that the top flattens out and all air bubbles are released. Then you have to let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the surface. The batter shouldn’t stick to your finger.
  8. The shells have to be baked for 12 minutes in a convection oven (the one with a  fan), briefly opening and shutting the oven door twice to let out the steam. Open the door first time at eight minutes (at that time the ‘foot’ of the shells will be cooked) then a second time after 10 minutes.
  9. The baked shells have to be carefully unstuck from the baking sheet, because they are quite fragile. You can use an offset spatula to gently nudge the shell.
  10. After filling the macarons whith ganache, they should be kept in the fridge for 24 hours to let the ganache/buttercream set in. Or the macaron feels very dry and crumbly. And they have to be best eaten at room temperature, an hour after taking them out.

Collage of steps of macaron

 

Rose Macarons

Makes about 72 macarons, 144 shells.

What you will need:

For the macaron shells :

  • 300 gm ground almonds
  • 300 gm icing sugar
  • 110gm liquefied egg whites
  • About 5 gm red food coloring
  • 300 gm caster sugar
  • 75 gm water
  • 110 gm liquefied egg whites

For the ganache :

  • 200 gm white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 150 gm fresh cream

What to do :

  1. A week before making macarons, separate egg whites from egg yolks. For this recipe you will need about 8-10 eggs. Separate the egg whites, place them in a tight lid glass bottle, and keep it aside in the refrigerator for a week. This will liquefy the egg whites. (See commandment above)
  2. On the day of making macarons or one day prior, finely grind almonds and sieve them a couple of times to get a smoother consistency without any crumbs. I like the nutty flavor and hence use un-blanced almonds, but you can very well use blanched almonds.
  3. Then once again sift together icing sugar and ground almonds.
  4. Stir the food coloring into first portion of liquefied egg whites
  5. Pour them into the bowl of icing sugar and ground almonds but do not stir.
  6. Bring the sugar and water to a boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquefied egg whites to soft peaks. (Take help if available.)
  7. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg-whites. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50C. Then fold it well in the mixture of ground almonds and icing sugar.
  8. Now spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Be careful that there are no air bubbles getting trapped while filling the bag.
  9. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 cm in diameter, 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment paper. It is essential for air to circulate from all sides of the macaron shell, and hence space them considerably. You can use the stencil made with a shot glass as a measure.
  10. Leave the piped shells to stand for 30 minutes until a skin forms on the surface.
  11. Meanwhile, preheat the fan oven to 180C. Put the baking tray in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, briefly opening and shutting, twice. (See commandment)
  12. Take the baking tray out and slide the baking parchment on to a work surface, or it will continue cooking further on the tray, which we don’t want.
  13. Put in the other tray to bake and continue doing so till all the shells are made. Once fully cooled, release the shells from the baking paper with a slight nudge with a spatula. (Careful, they are still fragile.)
  14. Take chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream and switch off the heat just when it starts to boil. Pour the cream on white chocolate, let it rest for 2 minutes and then whisk to form a smooth ganache.
  15. Spoon the ganache in a piping bag and pipe a generous mound of ganache on half the shells. Top with remaining shells, and keep in fridge for 24 hours.
  16. Remove and let it sit at room temperature for minimum one hour, before serving or eating.

Rose Macarons

Notes :

  1. Macarons are a bit time-consuming, but not difficult. And the joy of having made them at home is enormous. Try it, and everybody around you will be super impressed.
  2. These little things improve every time you practice. I sure did crack a few macaron shells,  one batch got burnt, one batch was undercooked and some macarons totally browned on top. you have to know your oven and keep practicing to get the perfect shell. Also, this recipe can be easily halved.
  3. The flavor combinations are tremendous and only sky is really the limit.

 

Meringue cookies. And a word of advice : Be paranoid for your daughter.

You have to be paranoid about your daughter’s safety when she is a young girl.

My mom was, and her mom before that. It is almost alright to think that the big bad world is out to violate your daughter and you have to protect her. Especially when she is becoming a teen and in the early teenage years.

Since as early as I was seven, my mom used to tell me that nobody should kiss me on the cheeks or be overtly affectionate as people are with little girls. Of course, most people do it lovingly and don’t have any ulterior motive, but kids have to be given black and white rules for them to be able to follow them. I might have missed out on getting tickled by an adoring uncle, but it definitely saved me from a lot of uncalled groping for sure.

I remember one of my father’s friends and his wife used to come home often after dinner for a cup of coffee. He was nice guy, extremely fond of me, but insisted on lifting me in his arms and putting me on his lap and smothering me with pecks on my cheeks. My dad told him to stop once or twice, but he didn’t. And it is not a surprise that we saw less and less of him over the coming years.

In fact me and my six-years-younger brother were even told to not let anyone inside the house when alone, except my parents (of course) and my grandparents. I have offended many an aunt by asking them to come back after some time as mom and dad are not at home. They would say my mom was unnecessarily strict, but she stood to her rule. It is impossible to make kids differentiate between whom to let in and whom to not, and hence a blanket rule of not allowing anyone inside when they were not at home was a better suited one.

Despite being so careful, I had a couple of “uncomfortable” instances. But I reacted to them very wisely, if I say so myself, because of the awareness my mother had created in my mind. Once at a hiking summer camp, we were all sitting around a campfire and had blankets on our lap as it was cold. A ‘sir’ or a hiking instructor came and sat besides me. Soon, his hand was crawling under the blanket towards me. I squirmed, became restless. He kept on. But within a minute or two, my brain kicked my legs and I abruptly stood up. And went back to the girls tent to sleep. For several years after that I could not articulate what happened, but it stayed in my head and I knew for sure that what I did was right.

One evening when I was eighteen, and had recently started riding a scooter motorcycle, a relative asked if I could take him for a pillion ride. I was proud to show off my riding skills and agreed immediately. Once out of sight of my parents, he started moving his hands up and down my chest.  I was angered and I brushed off his hand. He said he wanted to hold me to prevent from falling off the bike. He again started grabbing my waist and my boobs. At eighteen, I obviously knew what was his intention. I turned around, came home and proclaimed that I will never take that uncle with me on the scooter again. My mom understood, and drove him away. I still see him on family functions, and I want to kick his arse, and may be some day I will.

Thankfully, that was the extent of those awful experiences I had. And I am glad I had these minor incidents, because of which I was sensitized to the issue of child molestation. I was aware of what is a good touch and what is bad touch. I think that helped and prevented any further mishaps.

Whoever is reading this, it is my sincere request – “Talk to you daughter and be paranoid of her safety. And believe in whatever she tells you. It may be slightly exaggerated because of the highly imaginative brain, but believe what she is saying. That it.”

Rutvika Charegaonkar

P.S : If you wish to share your experience or add some more to the word of caution, drop a comment, it would be good to know.


Meringue : Oh light and merry meringue

Meringue cookies

Last Sunday, I participated in a bake sale organised by The Bake Collective for raising funds for a municipal school for special children. In three hours, 12-15 volunteers sold the delish home-baked goodies and collected Rs. 30,00 which went directly to the Urmi foundation. I made these colorful meringues drops and packaged them in 30 smiley boxes (the yellow smiley boxes in the first picture), and they were gone in 2 hours 🙂 What a delight it is to see people buy something you baked.

TBC evening

Colorful Meringue Cookies

(No oil, no butter, no egg yolk.)

This recipe makes 60-70 meringue drops.

What you will need

  • 240 gm castor sugar + 1 tablespoon for mixing color
  • 120 gm egg whites
  • Vanilla, lemon, peppermint, strawberry essence (any one or all)

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 100C.
  2. Separate the egg-whites and the egg-yolks. We only need egg whites for this.
  3. Take the egg-whites in a bowl and start whisking the eggs till foamy and till it forms very soft peaks.
  4. Take the tablespoon of sugar in a separate bowl and mix in a few drops of the flavoring essence and a few drops of food color.
  5. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites, a tablespoon at a time (or in a slow, steady stream) until all the sugar is incorporated and it starts developing hard peaks.
  6. Incorporate the color and essence mixed sugar and whisk with an electric beater or a stand mixer for 5-6 minutes till the egg whites stand stiff and become glossy.
  7. Transfer to a piping bag with nozzle 8 or 10 and pipe drops of meringue on a baking silicone sheet or parchment paper lined on a baking tray.
  8. Bake for about 25-30 minutes till the drops detach easily from the baking sheet and feel light. Break open a meringue drop to check that it is fully cooked even at the centre, or continue baking for 3-4 minutes more.
  9. Cool completely before eating.

meringue cookies from a jar

Notes :

  • 1 egg generally weighs 50 gm. 20 gm yolk and 30 gm white. So for this you will need about 4 eggs. And the thumb rule is that sugar should be generally double the weight of the egg whites.
  • I used strawberry essence for pink meringues, lemon for yellow, peppermint for green and vanilla for white meringues. The meringues look lovely when pastel colored so use food color sparingly. Or you can skip it altogether if you wish.

If you wish to be a part of the Bake Sale which is organised 2-3 times a year, go on and like their Facebook page, or just go and show some love 🙂