Happy 2nd Day of Christmas everyone! I hope your 1st day of Christmas was fabulous! Ours was a very different Christmas - we didn't have the girl or the grands which was incredibly sad for me. Our Christmas morning was quiet and dull - no chaos, no ripping open of presents, no hot cocoa flying across the carpet, no one counting presents to see who's stack had more, no making merry to be had! We had to wait until the boy got off work for our Christmas to begin - and it about killed me! (Warning: I feel the need to rant just a tad...I HATE stores that open on Christmas!!! Hate it! It's just greed - do you hear me SAFEWAY!! Close your damn doors, let your employees spend Christmas morning with their families, then if you absolutely must, to guarantee the Division Bosses get their bonuses, open your doors and sell whatever it is that is so important for you to sell on Christmas. Okay, I'm done now.) The boy and his bride didn't arrive until afternoon to rescue/relieve the mister and me from twiddling our thumbs! I'm not good with any kind of change, and no kids at Christmas was really hard!
Christmas Day has just barely ticked by so now it's time to move onto the next big event...New Year's Eve. It's just a few days away and surely you'll want something decadent and delicious to serve to your guests? Well look no further, this is a beautiful-eye-rolling-tongue-wagging-good and easy dessert to help you start your year off right!
We actually had Raspberry Meringues as part of our Christmas feast but since I made extra sauce and meringues, (they both will keep for weeks in an air-tight container in the refrigerator) we get to have them again on New Year's Eve! Very smart of me, no? These happen to be one of the mister's favorites, but don't be led astray by that, it's not the least bit bland or boring...that's his M.O. of course (method of operation) - the more bland and boring the better he likes it but every now and then he will branch out from Jell-O and actually eat a dessert that is down-right yummy.
Speaking of the mister, he actually shopped for Christmas presents this year! He drove himself to the MALL, walked inside of his own free will and purchased gifts!!! This is a first folks! And then he found his way back out, managed to get through the horrendous traffic and did it all without flipping anyone off (he claimed, but there is no video footage or witnesses to back up his claim). So,this begs the question...is the mister getting sentimental in his old age?!? Oh my, I crack myself up - that made me laugh till I cried, we call that a face washer! The mister sentimental! Ha! But he did shop so something is afoot! Not to worry, I'll get to the bottom of it!
This recipe is from Ina Garten, who calls these Meringues Chantilly. They're French, of course, as most everything delicious is! Creme Chantilly is sweetened whipped cream, which is what the meringues are filled with after they are baked and left to dry until crisp (takes about 6 hours total, 2 hours to bake and 4 hours or overnight to cool,dry and crisp.) Fresh or frozen raspberries top the cream and a raspberry magical elixir sauce is poured over all...a spoon is needed to eat these and maybe they should be served with a straw, too, so every drop of the sauce can be savored!
There are two things you need to know about meringue before you begin (thanks to Fine Cooking for these tips which have helped my meringue turn out great): first, your bowl and beater should be impeccably clean. Any speck of grease will keep the egg whites from expanding properly. A quick rinse with a little white vinegar and some water will do the trick. Be sure to dry everything really well. Second, your eggs should be at room temperature to get the best volume out of your meringue. Since it's easier to separate whites from yolks when they're cold, go ahead and separate your eggs straight out of the refrigerator, then let your whites warm to room temp in a bowl on the counter, or you can put the bowl over warm water to speed the process.
One more note: Don’t try to make meringues on a very humid day. The humidity can prevent the meringues from ever getting crisp. Living in Seattle where it rains every day, this can be a challenge...but know that it is okay if your meringues are crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside, instead of being crispy all the way through...it's just one of the sacrifices we Seattleites have to make for living, as a Northwest Christmas Carole goes, "...in a gift God wrapped in green!"
Raspberry Cream Meringues - Adapted from Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten
6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (strengthens the egg whites and helps stabilize the structure)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided (I've seen recipes that call for extra-fine sugar, but regular sugar works just fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon raspberry extract
whipped cream (see below)
3 pints fresh or frozen raspberries
Raspberry Sauce (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw six 3 1/2-inch circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla and raspberry extracts. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star-shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
For serving, fill each shell with whipped cream, top with berries, pour sauce over top and serve on a puddle of raspberry sauce. Makes 12 meringues. Meringues can be made ahead of time, just keep in an airtight container, they will keep for weeks.
This sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time and will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for a week.
1 half-pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (12 oz. jar) seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur or raspberry extract
Place the raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and the framboise or extract into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve/strainer to remove any seeds. This step is optional but we like a smooth, seedless sauce. Chill until serving time.
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and extracts and continue to ship until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't over beat or you'll end up with butter!
My sous chef Katie is home from school and she helped me assemble the meringues...I have no idea what she is doing in this picture but I found it in my camera...Welcome home Katie and thanks for your help!!