An Embarrassment of Desserts

When you create meringues, you have egg yolks left over. When you bake crème brulee, you have egg whites left over. Might as well make both!

The meringues were going to a friend who recently suffered a loss in her family. She’s gluten free and has other dietary restrictions, but she can handle egg whites and sugar, which whip up into meringues. I’ve learned I can sneak a disk of melting chocolate into some of them. This makes for a tasty surprise for someone who’s largely estranged from baked goods.

The recipe came from my 1955 Good Housekeeping Cookbook, which I bought used somewhere. The recipe, as I prepared it, appears below.*

The meringues left me with six egg yolks. I sneaked a couple into our scrambled eggs this morning and then ran across some recipes for crème brulee, which I’d never made. Turns out it’s easy. And it uses up egg yolks. You just beat four egg yolks with one third cup of sugar, heat two cups of cream until little bubbles form around the edge of the pan, and mix them all together with a teaspoon of vanilla, adding the cream to the eggs slowly so as not to create more scrambled eggs. You should strain out any curdled egg or skin that formed on the heated cream, but I skipped this step. Pour into ramekins (or any ovenproof dishes) and bake at 325 degrees for about half an hour. You can broil the tops, sprinkled with sugar, for a minute or two for those dark crispy tops.

Both these desserts look pretty fancy but whip up easily. They’re fussy for Thanksgiving fare, but nice for a holiday party. We’re entering that eating season. What are your favorite dishes?

*Meringue Glacee     Heat oven to 275 degrees.

1/8 teaspoon salt                                                             1 teaspoon vinegar

6 egg whites                                                                       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sugar                                                                       (chocolate disks/chips if desired)

Add salt to egg whites and beat to stiff-ish peaks. At low speed, add sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating about 2 minutes after each addition. (I did not, ahem, follow this advice to the letter.) Add vinegar and vanilla to meringue, and beat at high speed for about 10 minutes more. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto buttered (or parchment-ed) baking sheet. Bake about 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 degrees and back 15 minutes more, until meringues are creamy white and delicately firm. Remove to rack and cool. (Many are naturally cracked at this point, which makes room for some chocolate to be tucked in.)

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4 Responses to An Embarrassment of Desserts

  1. Kathy says:

    I’ll never be able to make it up to you!

  2. Laura says:

    Unfortunately I will never be able to forget!

  3. Kathy says:

    Remember the horror of the coffee in the brownies?

  4. Laura says:

    I think you know what my favorite dish is: Kathy Ewing brownies!

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