What with the sun finally putting in an appearance this weekend, I thought I'd have a play with an idea thats been bouncing around in my head for a few moths now. May was a quietish month so I made the most of it by focusing on recipe development and re-discovering creativity. There was a little bit of freelance work, back working as an actual chef for the first time in 6 years. There was also a photoshoot with some rather brilliant creative talents (More on this soon...) So in all, the last few weeks has been filled with new exciting ventures into the unknown...
I've been working on new techniques with meringues since acquiring a dehydrator in December, and whilst they're still not perfect this is the first time i've followed it through to conclusion by adding it into a cake as a decoration. I wanted to explore different designs and finishes, how it could be pushed to create different effects. Flavour wise what with it being June and all, lemon and Raspberry was the order of the day, and when I eventually got bored and decided just to eat the little bugger it tasted rather good too.
I love the clean white tones meringue brings to the fore, buttercream always has a vintage ivory tone to it that is pleasant, but there's nothing quite like the clean, pure white of a pavlova. My photography hasn't really done that justice here, but i'm working on it.
Here follows my basic Swiss meringue recipe. I've opted for swiss meringue here as its much more stable when dehydrated and gives a lovely glossy finish.
You will need:
- 2 large egg whites (this is around 80g if using liquid albumin)
- 100g caster sugar
- 8g Meri White powder
Place all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl, place this over a simmering pan of water. Whisk continuously and heat through until the mixture is thick and marshmallowy. To be extra geeky the mixture needs to reach a temperature of 65°C. Transfer the mix to the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on a high speed until the mixture is cool. Spread the mix in a thin layer over a sheet of silicone paper and sprinkle over any decorations such as frees dried raspberry of 100s and 1000s.
Place in the dehydrator at a temperature of 57°C for 10-12 hours until completely crisp and dry. Break the sheets up into shards (a ninja chop always works well here, with sound effects!) Once ready the shards can be stored in an airtight container for a week or two.
Non dehydrator method- Place the sheets of meringue into a an oven pre-heated to 100°C (Fan.) Bake for two hours then switch off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven before removing.