Meringue Kisses (and Trees)

IMG_9266-2

These little meringues are the perfect treat!  You can add them to cookie trays, charcuterie boards, or dessert tables.  The possibilites are endless:).  With just a few simple steps (and ingredients), you will have a dainty delicacy that will please everyone!!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (superfine if possible) (200 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract 

Instructions:

Line baking sheets with nonstick parchment (set aside).

Preheat oven to 220 degrees F.

Beat the egg whites on low until slightly frothy.  Increase mixer speed to medium and add the cream of tartar.  Beat until soft peaks form.  With mixer on high speed, begin adding sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Don’t rush this process.  It’s should take between 8-10 minutes. 

After mixing in all the sugar, rub a small amount between your fingers to make sure the sugar has fully desolved.  Add extracts and beat until stiff peaks have formed.

IMG_9250

Using a small brush and red gel food coloring, stripe a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  Fill the bag with meringue and with gentle pressure, squeeze the bag and pull up.  Continue until the bag is empty.

You can divide the meringue and use half to make trees.  Simply add the meringue (colored with green food gel) to a piping bag fitted with a large circle.  Squeeze with pressure and decrease as you get closer to the top of the tree.

IMG_9257

Add sprinkles!

Bake in 220 degree F oven for 90 minutes.  After the meringues have baked, turn the oven off and leave them in the oven with the door propped open (I use a wooden spoon).

Remove from oven and cool completely.

I like to dip the bottom of the trees in melted chocolate (optional).  Enjoy!!

IMG_0442-2

I hope you make these cute and tasty delights.  If you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbmimi.  I would like to hear from you and see your photos!

Cranberry Meringue Tart

IMG_0214

This tangy tart is delicious and is going to be a wonderful new addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.  It not only tastes good, it is visually appealing too…win, win!!

Although there are several components to this scrumptious dessert, trust me, it is worth every step!

Traditionally, curd is made by cooking citrus juice with sugar, eggs and butter until it becomes glossy and thick (lemon is the classic curd flavor).

When curd is being used as a filling, cornstarch is added as a thickening agent to ensure a firm texture.  However, because of it’s pectin rich skin and flesh, cranberry curd is made using the whole fruit.  They are so loaded with pectin (which forms a gel in the presence of sugar and acid) that the curd practically thickens itself!  This cranberry curd only needs 3 large egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to set up into a sliceable tart!!

Cranberry Curd Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (250 grams)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (120 grams)
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature (save egg whites for meringue)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cubed (57 grams)

Instructions for Curd Filling:

Bring cranberries, sugar, water, zest and salt to boil in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat, stirring occasionally.  Adjust heat and maintain a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook until the cranberries burst and start to shrivel.  This takes about 10 minutes.

While the cranberries are cooking, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together in a small bowl until smooth.  Place the ramekin (or small bowl) in a slightly larger bowl filled with warm water.  This helps to slightly warm (not cook) the yolks so they don’t curdle when you put them in the hot cranberry mixture.

IMG_0171

Transfer the hot cranberry mixture and egg yolk mixture to a food processor until smooth (about 1 minute).  Scrape down sides as needed.

Add softened butter and process for another 30 seconds. Strain curd through a fine sieve (this will make the curd so silky smooth!).  Set aside while you make the crust.

IMG_0174

Let’s get started with the nutty, buttery almond crust.

Ingredients for crust:

  • 1 cup almond flour (112 grams)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch (64 grams)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (67 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (85 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions for crust:

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a bowl until combined.  Add the cooled melted butter and almond extract and stir until uniform dough forms.

IMG_0175

Press dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of an 8″ or 9″ tart pan.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Place pan with chilled dough on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until crust is golden brown, rotating half way through baking process.

IMG_0176

Remove crust from the oven.

While crust is cooling, make meringue topping:).

Meringue ingredients:

3 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup fine granulated sugar (50 grams)

Instructions for Meringue:

Make sure mixing bowl and whisk beater are clean and free from any grease.

Whip the egg whites until they are foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue to mix on medium speed.  Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth and glossy.  Increase speed and mix until stiff peaks form.  Don’t overmix or your meringue will be dry.

Place strained cranberry curd in slightly cooled crust and top with meringue.

IMG_0185

IMG_0186

Place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!!

IMG_0203

I hope you make this delicious “Queen of Tarts”, and if you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your beautiful creations!!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

 

IMG_7763

I love all buttercream frostings but it is safe to say that Swiss meringue is my favorite.  I really like Italian meringue just as much, but this just seems a little easier to make and is just a bit sweeter than Italian meringue and less sweet than American….so I guess it’s “just right” (I wonder which buttercream Goldilocks would like?).

This buttercream frosting is delicious on cakes and cupcakes.  There are so many possibilities as far as flavors go.  You can add my strawberry filling (5 tablespoons)  for an amazing strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream.

7B42EAE9-585B-4BD3-B3D7-D758B4B0ADB0
My vanilla cupcake topped with strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream. YUM!!!!

By adding 1 cup of Nutella to this recipe, you have this amazing Nutella Swiss meringue buttercream.

IMG_7771
My son David’s birthday cake made with Nutella Swiss meringue buttercream

And then there’s Espresso Swiss meringue buttercream that I topped my pumpkin spice cake with last Fall…it was like a pumpkin spice latte.  That’s right all my coffee loving friends:).

IMG_7767
Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I love using Swiss meringue buttercream when making  special occasion cakes using my vanilla sponge cake ( I will be posting that recipe soon).

There are so many uses for this amazing buttercream!

If you’ve never made this buttercream frosting because you think it may be too difficult, please give this recipe a try.  You’ll be glad you did!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups extra fine sugar (300 grams)
  • 4 large egg whites (160 grams)
  • 1 ¾ cups unsalted butter (400 grams) room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:

 Cut the butter into chunks, place in a bowl and set aside while you’re preparing the meringue.

IMG_0374

 Wipe down the bowl and whisk with lemon juice to make sure they are free from any grease. Any trace would hinder the egg whites from mixing properly.

Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl.

IMG_0375

Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water isn’t touching the bowl. Whisk the eggs whites and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  This usually takes about 3 or 4 minutes.  Rub the mixture between your fingers, and if doesn’t feel gritty anymore it is ready.  Continue to whisk if it doesn’t feel smooth.  A gritty mixture will ruin the texture of the finished product.

When the egg mixture is ready, remove the bowl from the pan.

Place the bowl on the mixing stand.  Using the whisk attachment,  beat on medium high for 10-15 minutes.  Add the extract and salt and continue mixing.  The mixing bowl should have cooled down at this point and the eggs should form  stiff peaks.

969EC078-3CE5-4648-8BB7-ABF2DD5D7979

Make sure the bowl has cooled before adding the butter. You can do this by placing a bag of frozen veggies around the bottom of the bowl until it’s cool.

With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding the cubes of butter (1 at a time). Don’t rush this process.  Allow the butter to incorporate after each addition.

IMG_0383

 

The buttercream is going to be runny and it’s going to look like it’s not turning out.  Be patient! By the time you finish adding all the butter, it will come together nicely.   The more you mix it, the lighter and fluffier it will get!

BD6F8154-D706-4BF3-A0BB-DA9F12B3D72A

I hope you make this buttercream,  and if you do, please post pictures and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  Enjoy!