Cooking Challenge – Meringue in a Caramelized Sugar Bowl

By / Food / April 5th, 2011 / 2

The Tidings Cooking Challenge is an opportunity for food lovers to try their hand at creating something together. Not all in the same kitchen, of course. Rather, try the recipe in your own time and then come back and tell us what you thought of it. You can add your comments directly underneath the post, or send a photo of your creation to [email protected]. Check out what others have done at Quenchbytidings.

So, once again, this month’s cooking challenge is all about caramelizing sugar. I admit it, I’m on a bit of a kick. It’s just that caramelized sugar looks stunning, especially in this month’s rendition, tastes great and is very easy to make. No special ingredients, machinery or skill required. Although I haven’t yet experimented with it, you can probably drag food colouring, chopped nuts or candy sprinkles through the it (before it cools) to produce a stained glass effect. The key to making this caramelized sugar bowl work is waiting for the sugar to cool to the point where you can lift the foil and invert the whole thing over a mould.

Place dollops of meringue or vanilla ice cream garnished with fresh berries into each bowl and serve with amaretto-spiked coffee.

Meringue Clouds
Serves 8

6 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1-/2 tsp vanilla
3-1/3 cups milk
3 Tbsp orange-flavoured liqueur
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup strawberries, sliced

1. In a small bowl, whisk yolks to blend with 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla. In a double boiler set over medium heat, scald milk. Whisk about 1/2 cup milk into the egg mixture, then return the mixture to the pot. Place pot over barely simmering water and stir often until custard coats a metal spoon in a smooth layer, about 15 minutes. Immediately set pot with custard in ice water; stir until cool. Stir in liqueur. Pour custard into a pitcher. Cover and chill until cold.

2. In a large bowl, combine reserved egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating until whites hold soft, shiny peaks.

3. Spoon egg white mixture into individual portions onto a large roasting pan. Bake in a 350°F oven, uncovered, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

4. Place a meringue cloud into each caramelized sugar bowl and top with strawberries. Serve with custard on the side

Caramelized Sugar Bowl
Makes 2 to 4

2 Tbsp butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar

1. Line a baking sheet with foil cut a little larger than the size of each bowl; brush with 1/2 the butter. Brush small bowls (about 2 to 4 inches across) with remaining butter.

2. Pour sugar into a large nonstick frying pan and cook over medium heat; shake pan often, until most of the sugar liquifies. Reduce heat and cook until sugar melts and turns amber in colour, about 30 minutes.

3. Pour caramelized syrup carefully into small pools on the foil-lined baking sheet. Spread syrup as thin as possible. At this point, having a helper is ideal. Let syrup stand until it begins to firm up. At that point, begin placing each caramelized sugar round over the bowls, pressing the sugar into the shape of the bowl. If the caramelized sugar cools too quickly and becomes too hard to mould, just return it to the oven until it’s soft enough to work with. When the caramelized sugar has cooled, gently remove it from the bowl. If, after all your efforts, the bowls crack, don’t worry about it. Simply break them into small, uneven pieces. Place the meringue into a serving bowl, and garnish each bowl with the cracked caramelized sugar.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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