Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So, where did I go wrong on this recipe?

I was all set to finish strong on this challenge, I didn’t make it through every chef like I wanted, but I was going to try  my best gosh darn it.

And then I got to the list of recipes, and they kept having ingredients I either don’t have a clue where to get.  Where do you get vanilla beans?  Or ingredients I don’t particularly want to have in the house given my young kids and their penchant for getting into cupboards and opening stuff (so that eliminates any pound cake, no rum or tequila).

So, I ended up with his French Meringue recipe.  I thought, no problem I’ve made meringue’s before, this should be just fine.  And I’m having some women over for tea, and we can snack on the cookies and I won’t be left with lots of them.

And then the plan went wrong.  How you ask?  I’m glad to tell you.

First, we had an ER trip because Superman came inside telling me he’d stuck a seed in his ear and it wouldn’t come out.  Luckily, Jeff was nice enough to come and bail me out on that and he sat with the silly boy as they got the popcorn kernel out of his ear.

The, once I was actually working on the recipe I was convinced that I was using my eggs that were bordering on going bad, and there was a couple of the eggs in the dozen that were bad, but I forged ahead.

And finally it wasn’t forming the stiff peaks you need.  I was whipping it and whipping it and it wasn’t forming the peaks.  I know I was thrown by everything being in ounces, so the measurements might have been off because I was using the measurements on the side of my liquid measuring cup, so that might have been off.  But, it still wasn’t forming peaks, and usually after a couple of minutes of my mixer beating on high it’s formed peaks.

So, where did I go wrong?  Oh, and I convinced myself that I’d been using bad eggs, so I went through cracked them all, dumped them down the drain and took the shells to the garden.  Then I came back to get what I thought was my new carton of eggs I’d bought on Monday only to discover it was a mostly empty carton of hard boiled eggs, and I’d just thrown out my new eggs.  So, I made Earl Grey Shortbread cookies for everyone and we devoured those.

Here’s the recipe, maybe someone knows what I did wrong.


  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, optional
  • 4 ounces sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces confectioners' sugar
  • 3 ounces nut powder, optional (Nut powder is equal volume by weight of confectioners' sugar and a roasted nut of your choice. I like hazelnuts, peanuts, or almonds).
  • 2 ounces cocoa powder, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer, begin to whip the egg whites with cream of tartar, if using.. Slowly add the sugar. Whip the whites until stiff peaks.
Combine flour and confectioners' sugar (and nut powder if using), then fold into whites.
Load batter into pastry bag (use open star or any desired shape IF NOT using nut powder otherwise use no tip), and pipe quarter size meringues onto grease free parchment paper. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until browned. Remove and cool before use.
Pipe buttercream from cake assembly into some of the meringues for a surprise.
Apply meringues to the cake after applying a heavy crumb coat. Cover completely. Put fresh berries or dollops of cooled, piped chocolate ganache between any gaps of the meringues.

Anybody, Bueller?  Anyone from the I Thank My Mother  Cooking challenge?
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