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When the kids and I get bored, we bake. I've loved making desserts since I was 8, when my Mom started teaching me how to use the mixer and read the back of a cake-mix box recipe. I think she wanted to professionally decorate cakes for a while; it's a kind of art. But I was a lot more interested in art that was made of sugar that I could eat, than in some Crayola scrap you hang on the fridge. So cooking with Finnegan reminds me of her.

Last week at Dahlia Lounge we had a Cinnamon Orange French Toast; this is my version, Lemon-Cinnamon Pain Perdu with a Columbia base:


and a customer:


Sunday, at Finn's suggestion, we made a Chocolate Cream Pie. It's Ghiradelli chocolate with basically a simple simmered milk and sugar custard base.Nancy made a crust, which got a bit overdone, and I made the filling. Having the crust overdone was a blessing actually; something this sweet and heavy needs a crispy, salty base. The meringue on top is just what you do with the leftover egg whites; a good mixer makes this nearly automatic:


Today Finn and I did a Tarte au Citron to use a few of the lemons we had on hand; it's the zest (peel) of 4 lemons, all their juice (plus another half cup of lemon juice), so the lemon flavor is really strong. I had enough to put some filling in some pastry shells , topped that with some cream from the ISI nitrous canister: 200909262038.jpg

sorry no pictures of those lemon tarts; they're already gone! So there were 3 egg whites leftover, so those and a half-cup of sugar whip up to nearly beach-ball sized. Now on a pie you want a soft spongy meringue; but if you want to eat it like a candy, or make a shell to fill with something else, you can bake it for a long time at a low temperature, say 45 minutes at 300 degrees F. These are crispy and sugary and stick to your teeth like cotton candy (though there's really not that much sugar in them):


Postscript: Those meringues look good, but it turns out 300F for 45 minutes isn't long enough - they were still pretty spongy in the morning. Kinda like a big marshmallow. Finn didn't want any and Elijah only ate the brown part. I'd say try an hour, then turn the oven off and let them harden overnight without opening it.

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This page contains a single entry by Doug Treder published on September 26, 2009 8:20 PM.

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