Tuesday , 24 October 2017

Kyra’s Kitchen: The Yolk’s on You Part 2 – The Other Half of the Egg…. The WHITES!

If there is any ingredient that deserves a special Gastronomy Award it should be
egg whites.

They are low in calories.
They are gluten-free.
They are dairy-free.
They will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.
They are the base for some of the greatest desserts in the world.
They will ‘lighten’ a cake, soufflé or mousse.
And when baked into meringues, they will wait obligingly for weeks to be consumed.
[Historical Note:  Years ago – when I was at the Cordon Bleu in London, we were shown a box of meringues which the instructors insisted were one year old – and STILL edible! None of us had the courage to taste them and I suspect they are STILL there!]

When whisking egg whites, there is only ONE rule you must adhere to – there must not be even ONE smidgeon of fat or anything else in the mixing bowl. If so, and as obliging as they are, egg whites will then play dead.  Nor can you allow any ‘foreign object’ in the container of whites when you store them.  Remove any errant object by scooping it out with the empty egg shell.

Ok now that you know the rules….  Here are some recipes that will ensure your reputation as a baker. Remember however – your ‘friends’ will expect masterpieces every time!

DELICATE WHITE CAKE
This cake can be baked in 2 x 9” layer pans – or in 4 mini loaf pans.
Grease and flour the pans.
Pre heat the oven to 350
2 ½ cups cake flour – spooned into the measuring cup
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick [half cup] soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup milk divided
4 egg whites [1/2 cup]

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of the mixer.  Beat in the butter, flavorings and 2/3 cup milk.
Beat until smooth and then beat in the other 1/3 cup milk and the egg whites. Beat until smooth.
Pile into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes for the layers – 40 minutes for the mini loaves.
Allow to cool completely before turning out.
You can leave unfrosted or spread on a simple icing:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice or enough to make a spreadable frosting

FLO BRAKER’S VIENNESE SHORTBREAD COOKIES [slightly adapted] 1 2/3 cups unsifted all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks [6 oz] soft butter
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 drops orange flavoring – or 1 pkg. orange True Orange Crystals*

Sift the flour and salt into the mixer bowl and stir in the sugar.
Beat in the butter and egg white together with the flavorings.
If you are adept with a piping bag – insert a star tip and pipe rosettes onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet.  If you are not – scoop heaped teaspoons of the dough onto the sheet. Decorate as desired with cherries or M&M’s.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are JUST taking color.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before lifting them from the paper.
Store in an airtight metal container.
*Available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets


COCONUT MACAROONS
4 egg whites [1/2 cup] ¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups unsweetened coconut [available at many supermarkets and Indian stores]

Preheat oven to 325.
Whisk the whites with the salt until fluffy and gradually whisk in the sugar and lemon juice.
Whisk until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Fold in the flavorings.
Stir in the coconut.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet.
Top with a cherry [or you can dip the cooked macaroons in chocolate later].
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are light color and crisp to the touch.
Cool on a rack.

To add chocolate:  Melt semi sweet chocolate chips.  Dip either the base or one corner of each cookie into the chocolate and allow to set.

(Note: Unsweetened coconut produces a lighter macaroon – but if you cannot find it – use the sweetened flakes)

MERINGUES
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 175
Whisk the whites until fluffy together with the salt – then beat in the vanilla and gradually add the sugar. Whisk until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

NOW you can create!

If you know how to ‘pipe’ – drop a ½” round tip into a piping bag.
Pipe meringue rounds – mushrooms – ice cream cases or logs.
You can create anything you like! Go for it!  What have you got to lose – only 4 egg whites and a cup of sugar!

If you cannot pipe, then  drop tablespoons of the meringue mixture  onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet. You can also form a meringue case by depressing the center of the meringue with the back of a spoon.

Bake for about 1 hour – watching carefully to ensure the meringues do not ‘take on color’.  They are ready when they feel dry and lift easily off the paper.

Sandwich the meringues with melted chocolate or whipped cream [or any other filling of your choice]. 

About the Author

McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?
 

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