Monday, May 23

Meringue Tart Shells

I used up something like seven egg yolks total on the flan and on some homemade pasta (coming soon!), so there was a bowl full of egg whites sitting in the fridge.  There are a couple things that you can make with egg whites, most notably sorbets (in order to emulsify and stabilize the sorbet and preserve it while it's frozen) and MERINGUES.  For those of you who don't know, meringues are weird thing made out of sugar and egg whites that are super sweet and kind of melt in your mouth.  My grandmother likes to make banana cream pies using meringues as the pie crust instead of actual pie crust.  TRY THIS.  Anyway, my mom (rightly) got fed up with the egg whites that were sitting around and made these.

Meringue Tart Shells
from The New York Times Cookbook

6 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Beat the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice until they hold soft peaks.  Continue beating the egg mixture and add the sugar gradually.  Keep beating all the ingredients until it is glossy and stands in firm peaks.  Using a pastry bag (ie. a ziploc bag or something with like this with its tip cut), shape the meringue into 3- to 4-inch rounds on unglazed paper on a baking sheet (we used tin foil).  Build up the sides by laying coils of meringue one on top of the other to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches.  Bake slowly in the oven for about 1 hour.  Remove from the paper/tin foil with a spatula.

the remains a mere 24 hours later

We actually used all 7 egg whites and adjusted the recipe accordingly, but they still turned out really really well.  Again, this is something that is really difficult to do by hand.  You'd probably be beating the eggs for a good half hour with a whisk alone.

Today on a hike I put my iPod on shuffle (ALWAYS a risky move...) and Dave Matthews Band came up, which took me instantly back to the eighth grade.  Here's Dave Matthews Band's "Eh Hee"... it's a weird song but it's pretty entertaining:

Claiborne, Craig. "Meringue Tart Shells." The New York Times Cookbook. New York: Harper & Row, 1961. 523. Print.

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