For those who have never experienced the pleasure of passing a gallstone, imagine being pummeled repeatedly in the abdomen with the pointy end of an angry villager's pitchfork; it's not entirely the most exciting physical sensation known to man. But after two procedures early last week the damnable thing is gone and so are my pains. Unfortunately, my ability to eat certain high fat foods, like steak, cheese, and birthday cake, has also temporarily abandoned me.
So when my mother requested a lite cake for her birthday, I was relieved. If you'll forgive the pun, "I could have my cake and eat it too!"
It also gave me the opportunity to work on my meringue torte recipe. The fruits of this labor can be found in the recipe below.
Eat good food. Drink good beer. And above all, stay classy!
|Meringue Berry Torte|
Sam Parks (March 2012)
So I typically hate baked meringues. They are almost always dry, tasteless, and have the texture of warm Styrofoam. A few years ago I noticed a recipe that included nuts in the meringue, and I thought "hey, there's an idea!"
Now my mother and I have a standing argument over the inclusion of vanilla extract in our meringues; she's in favor, I'm against.
My meringue features fresh lemon juice for a slight hint of citrus. When combined with chopped walnuts and my secret ingredient (Tupelo honey from the Savannah Bee Company), this version of a classic dessert is elevated from boring and dull to quasi-orgasmic...ok maybe not, but it's still pretty tasty!
For the meringue:
-6 egg whites
-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
-1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
-1 2/3 cup granulate sugar
-2 cups chopped walnuts
-1/4 cup Tupelo Honey*
For the filling:
-1 'large tub' of Lite Cool Whip, fully thawed
-1/2 of a four serving box INSTANT lemon pudding
-1/2 cup skim milk
-32 oz. sliced strawberries
-12 oz. cup fresh blueberries
-1/2 - 1 cup sugar
For the meringue:
-Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
-Using a pencil and a sheet of parchment paper long enough to cover the back of a 1/2 sheet pan, trace the outline of an 8 inch round baking pan onto one corner of the paper. Repeat this process in the opposite corner of the paper. THEN repeat this process on a second sheet of parchment paper, giving you a total of four circles. Squarely position each sheet onto an overturned 1/2 sheet pan.
-Separate the egg whites from the yolks, making sure none of the yolk finds it's way into the whites (the yolks can be saved for later use in a different recipes).
-Using a mixer, slowly begin to beat the egg whites. Gently increase the speed until the mixer has reached a robust pace.
-When soft peaks have formed add the cream of tartar, lemon juice, and salt. Immediately begin to slowly add the sugar. Continue beating on high, until stiff peaks have formed.
|Very soft peaks|
-Portion the egg white mixture into four equal amounts. Spread one portion of the mixture into each of traced circles, making sure to stay within the lines and flattening the mixture into a disk with a slight depression in the center.
|The meringue "disks"|
-While the meringues are resting, mix the instant lemon pudding according to the package directions. You will only need half, so if you're hungry a few spoonfuls won't be missed.
-Slice the strawberries, and combine with the blueberries. Add enough sugar (1/2 - 1 cup) to sweeten the berries. Allow the berry mixture to "macerate" (rest in sugar) for at least 30 minutes.
|The berries chilling with some sugar in "the really cool bowl"|
-Right before assembling, mix 1/2 of the lemon pudding with the Cool Whip. (there may be leftovers!)
-To assemble, place one of the meringue disks on a serving plate. Place enough of the berry mixture onto the disk to cover it in a single layer. Spread some of the pudding mixture onto of the berries. Place another disk on top of the pudding, and repeat layer in this fashion until all of the meringues/ berries have been used.
|The folks at the office really, really liked the pudding-cool whip filling, and demanded more!|
*Tupelo Honey, is a varietal honey made from the flowers of the Tupelo tree (it only grows in a small region of the Southeastern U.S. and blooms for an average of 2 weeks). It has a pleasing floral flavor, almost like clover honey on steroids! Once a drop of this liquid gold has touched your lips, off-brand, mass-produced honeys will never be the same. I like to use it sparingly, as it is rather expensive, when I really want the flavor of the honey to come through. Just use it like white truffle oil for your desserts and it will be a worthwhile investment. (http://www.savannahbee.com)