The Gleeful Gourmand: A Refreshing Summertime Treat

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Refreshing Summertime Treat

Around Christmastime I posted about the Peppermint Meringues I had made that were so delicious. The recipe was from Bon Appétit, and to date, it was the recipe that the most people had contacted me to tell me they made and loved.


I was interested in making more meringue desserts, but the classics like a Pavlova (a fluffy meringue piled high with fresh whipped cream and berries). Then, about a month ago, I was in the supermarket checking out when I spotted a picture on the cover of Martha Stewart Living. It was the Peppermint Meringues, except these were striped with orange and yellow. Lemon and orange meringues! How clever! Why hadn't I thought of that? About a month later I finally got around to finding the recipe online, which you can read here


There is something about the recipe that seems overly complicated to me, much like all of Martha's recipes. First of all, what's the big difference between simmering the egg whites, and other ingredients until the sugar dissolves, versus Bon Appétit's version where you simply whip the ingredients together in increments over the same amount of time? Plus, not having vanilla seed on hand (which is not as easy to procure as one might imagine), and also not owning a pastry bag, or a "small paint brush" that hadn't already been used in toddler art projects was going to be a challenge. This recipe also wants you to use gel food coloring, which I tried, and is devilishly hard to use, especially when mixing colors to get something like orange. They then want you to "paint it" on the sides of the pastry bag to make the swirls.


The Ziploc Bag. It's not professional, but it'll do.
Which sounds easier to you? Mixing regular food coloring and dotting it over the surface of the meringues before putting it in the bag, or struggling with gel food coloring and painting the bag just so to make perfect stripes?


However, I loved the addition of the orange zest, and was very curious to know if it would really taste like orange, and if the zest would change the texture of the meringue. So what I did was this: I took my tried-and-true easy Bon Appétit recipe, and right where you would normally add in peppermint extract, I put in 1 teaspoon of orange zest.


They turned out perfectly. They were so refreshing, and light, and the orange flavor was present but not in an overpowering sort of way. I made them for a very impromptu Kentucky Derby party we threw for some neighborhood friends, and by the end of the race, they were all gone (which kind of posed a problem because the race is only 2 minutes long, and the party stretched way on into the evening). Later, I also tried out the same recipe with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest and lemon food coloring, and those came out just as well. Plus, if you're like me and don't own a pastry bag you can use a Ziploc bag to pipe the meringues. True, they don't look professional, but they still look pretty.


So here it is, my version of Orange and Lemon Meringues. They make excellent summertime desserts, especially on buffets, and also wonderful treats for teachers, neighbors, and Moms who babysit for you when you need them most (thanks, Mom!). 




Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange or lemon zest
  • 12 drops food coloring (red and yellow mixed for orange - instructions on box, or yellow)

Preparation

  • Preheat overn to 200°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until white and foamy, about 1 minute. With mixer running, gradually add suger in 3 additions beating for 2 minutes between each addition. Beat until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Add powdered sugar and orange or lemon zest; beat to blend, about 1 minute.
  • Dot coloring over surface of meringue; do not stir (the coloring will form swirls when piped). Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" tip. (alternatively, spoon into a plastic freezer bag, then cut 1/2" off 1 corner.) Twist top; pipe 1" rounds onto prepared sheet, spacing 1" apart.
  • Bake meringues until dry, about 2 1/2 hours. Let cool completely, about 1 hour (meringues will crisp as they cool). 



2 comments :

Kiki said...

I agree about Martha! Sooooo complicated and pretentious to boot! She is not in touch with the real world. At all.

Also, do you have a photo of the finished meringues? I want to see how they looked!

Jenna said...

Yeah, just ridiculous! Okay, here's the thing about the picture. Mine turned out prettily, but not as pretty as the ones on Martha's page. So I figured no one would want to see the ones that don't look "professional."

So I didn't take any pictures of them. They basically look like the Peppermint Meringues, but with Orange swirls.

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