Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sticky Meringue

There were seven of us for dinner last night.  Rafael and I hosted another UU silent auction dinner, Mother was able to join us so there were seven at the table.  Our seafood dinner menu had a mango theme and most of the recipes came from The Gourmet Cookbook and Gourmet Today - I call them Big Yellow and Big Green - each is about 1,000 pages long, with lots of recipes to choose from.

We began with shrimp salad cucumber canapes (with fresh, diced mango), cheese and crackers.  The first course was a warm butternut squash and spinach vegetable/salad - no mango except for the color of the squash.  The entree was grilled steelhead trout (caught by our son) with a mango butter sauce (my original concoction), fruit, nut and rice casserole (with dried mango and other dried fruits), and grilled asparagus.  For dessert I served a Frozen Mango Meringue Cake.  Dessert was served with a Moscato wine that claimed to have apricot and mango tones with a crisp finish.

Dinner was a success.  Lovely company with plenty to eat and lots to talk about.  But the dessert was not without its problems.  According to the cookbook it would take 1 1/2 hours prep time and 7 hours to finish because it had to be frozen. Having learned about the importance of timing from my last dinner party I had a plan. Friday evening I prepared my shopping list.  Saturday morning I was at the grocery store by 9:30 and home by 10:30.

Then the fun began.   I have a hand-held mixer which apparently whips stuff slower than the mixer that the recipe author used.  Whipping the egg white and sugar meringue until it held stiff peaks began to plague my chronically stiff shoulders (with more whipping promised for the whipped cream part). So I was already behind schedule with more delays to come. 

I was supposed to pipe the mixture onto parchment paper in three identical rectangles.  These were carefully measured to fit onto the serving plate that I purchased specially for this dessert - after all you cannot put a rectangular dessert on a round plate!  I probably should have gone out to purchase a bigger baking sheet since the merangues had to be about 1/2 apart to make them fit. Instead of a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tube I used a zip lock freezer bag with a corner snipped off which worked.  I offered up a special prayer to the goddess of cooking (I'll have to look that up, librarian that I am) that the stiff concoction would not spread as I slid the baking sheet into the oven.

At the end of the suggested cooking time the meringues looked barely golden and felt solid, as advised by the recipe.  So I removed them from the oven and let them rest on the parchment paper until cool.  Meanwhile I was making the mango curd (turned out perfectly, thank you) and the whipped cream filling and decorative topping.  Yes, the wipped cream took longer than the recipe said it would but it was OK.

Assembling the "cake" turned out to be the difficult part of the venture.  The three meringues were to be layered with a mango curd filling, whipped cream filling covered by more mango curd on the top and sides and decorated with a mixture of whipped cream and mango curd (supposedly piped from a pastry bag with a 1/8 inch tube but instead another freezer bag with a smaller corner cut off).  The meringues looked deceivingly perfect lying on the parchment paper.  Little did I know that they would stick to the stupid paper.  Fortunately the first one I tried to peel off was the worst.  I consoled myself that as the bottom layer no one would ever know how many pieces it was in.  But hey, it fit perfectly on the newly acquired plate.  The mango curd covered the jigsaw pieces of meringue beautifully (and tasted divine - lots of finger and spoon licking went into making this dessert but each lick was dutifully followed by a wash up!)  The second meringue came off the paper a bit easier but there were a few broken parts.  The third layer was the easiest.  However, there wasn't enough curd  to spread over the top and sides.  But I did not panic (probably because of the sugar high I was on by then!), there was lots of the whipped cream & curd mixture to not only decorate the top but to also to thickly cover the sides and still had lots left over, which I did not totally devour.

I popped that dessert into the freezer by 1:30 PM - way past the 1.5 hours active time, what do these people do - have a stop watch that they click off for every 5 minutes they aren't waiting for the timer to go off?  The recipe said to freeze for at least 3 hours and let it sit out of the freezer for at least an hour.  I had more than enough time.  And it came out looking fabulous and was a great hit.  There was only one piece left over and it was mine for breakfast.


  1. Can you share the recipe for your mango butter sauce? Souds yummy!

  2. Yobo - Here is the recipe for mango butter sauce. It makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce. Puree fresh or frozen or canned mango in a blender or food processor to make about a cup of puree. Mix in 1/4 cup of melted butter. Add 1 large clove mashed garlic (I use a garlic press). Finely dice about 1/3 cup red onion and add it to the mixture.

    This is delicious on salmon (and other fish such as halibut), chicken, and pork