Iced Gems. I can’t be the only one who used to eat the icing and be left with a bag off not-quite-right tasting biscuits. These are super-sized with a ginger biscuit, attach them with a little water icing or buttercream.
As a joke, Arthur Conan Doyle once sent five letters to five friends that read, “We are discovered, flee immediately”, to see what they would do. One of them disappeared and Conan Doyle never saw him again.
QI (E Series - Espionage)
it’s worth mentioning that those friends were people in high places in the government. (via hicockalorum)
I think it’s only fitting to begin with meringue because it’s the first thing I made with my KitchenAid when I bought it a few years ago. Before that I’d been attempting meringue by hand which I didn’t have the forearms for. Maybe it was my technique; I just read that Julia Child took to a rowing machine every morning when she first went on TV so she wouldn’t be breathless while whisking her eggs. That’s a level of dedication left to better women than me.
I like meringue, I like a crisp shell filled with a good chewy inside. I’m not so much a fan of the chalk white through and through that some recipes direct you towards, so I adapted the Pavlova recipe from by battered copy of Mary Berry for my base. I liked the extra sugar in this recipe – I think the ratio for a basic meringue is around 50g sugar per egg white and this has a little more, which after some research is supposed to produce a firmer structure. The added cornflour and white wine vinegar should help to make it chewy. The mixing was key, I’d already read. Steadily increasing the speed instead of jumping in on level 10 would create a more stable mixture, with smaller air bubbles instead of large ones liable to deflate.
So the first batch was hollow, and the second cracked. Notice the lack of picture for these; much like the first pancake, the first batch of any food experiment should be eaten in quiet shame facing the corner of the room.
I searched a little online, eventually deciding that I might fix both issues just by turning my oven down. The recipe calls for 160C, turned down to 150C once the meringues go in. For the next batch I knocked the oven down to 100C and left them in for 1 ½ hours, and another half hour or so for the oven to cool. The meringue was crisp on the outside, but the shell was very thin. The middle was chewy and not hollow – so partial success!
Convinced for now that it was in the baking rather than the mixing, I made another pass, aiming on thickening up the shell by popping the temperature up to 120C. To balance out the higher temp I turned the oven off after an hour and then left the meringues for a further 30 mins in the cooling oven. I was pretty pleased, I stuffed one in my mouth then I furiously wrote it all down for next time…
Still life shoot by Peter Lippmann for Cartier Art Magazine. A wonderful series mixing butterflies, shells and flowers with Cartier iconic jewellery pieces. It is so well done that you really have to pay attention to find the jewel!