May 20, 2010

Apple meringue dessert, I did it!

A few month ago, I wrote about that very unusual and interesting way of preparing a declination of apple elements in a meringue shelf. Here is the post. My dessert, prepared for a catered dinner of 6 guests, contained a Golden and honey compote, a brunoise of Granny Smith and lemon juice, a cream Chantilly whipped with home made vanilla sugar (see TIP) and a vanilla ice cream.
The major technical issue in that dessert is the baking of the meringue shelf. The video from the initial post doesn't give much of a clue for success ;-( so I had to experiment several times before achieving a very decent aspect (very close to the master I would say!).

The major issues were :

1) keeping the immaculate white color of the meringue
2) unmoulding the half shelf without any damage
3) obtaining a thin layer easy to break for the guest with a dessert spoon.

Even if I used the best recommended flexipan mould, I felt more relax if coating a little bit of neutral taste oil with a brush on each half shelf cavity before shaping the meringue with a spoon. I think it helped unmould with any hassle...

Instead of putting down the mould on a sheet pan in the oven, I rather used a rack since the conducted heat from the oven on the sheet pan provoked a higher temperature which eventually form caramelization on the tip of each shelf, which ruined the immaculate white color I was desperately looking for.

I think my guests were flabbergasted by the presentation of this surprise dessert (as I named it) although they were a little bit clueless with the way to attack it, spoon ? fork ? knife ? fingers ? Well, at that point, it is all theirs...

Of course, the possibilities are endless for the fillings. I will probably have a pavlova theme for the next time...
My tip : whenever using vanilla pods for a preparation (e.g. crème anglaise), always save them for recycling. Clean them under water and let then dry for several days. When dry, cover with sugar for several days in a tight container. Final, use a robot coupe to pulverize the sugar and the pod altogher. Your vanilla sugar will taste great and have a nice look with tiny bits of dried vanilla. In your make a Chantilly cream, you will have black tiny dots in your Chantilly for a nice surprising effect...

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