Peppermint Meringue Cake, Part I
I have been looking forward to this for weeks. It's the day I get to start the cake. THE cake. You'll see why I call it that soon. Promise.
I had a wonderful Christmas -- our trip to the beach was cut short by a supposed blizzard -- but we were with family, which was great. The blizzard never really materialized. I mean, we only got 8-14 inches of snow (as far as I can tell by averaging the drifts), but it is WINDY out there. We're supposed to get wind chills as low as -10 degrees tonight and tomorrow. I am counting my blessings that I'm in a warm house tonight!
Anyway, on to the cake. We always have cake with some family friends around Christmas time, but last year, I stepped it up a notch. It used to be that we had low-fat gingerbread . . . you know, the kind that tastes like gingerbread, but no matter how hard you try to disguise that there is applesauce in it instead of oil, it still sinks in the middle? That kind. It still tasted good.
But last year one of my parents had a subscription to Bon Appetit (you know, the gourmet food magazine) to use up some sort of points for something, but I ended up enjoying the most of any of us, I think. That's kind of how I figured out that I was becoming a "foodie". Then, last Christmas, this was on the cover. I knew I had to try it.
And it took three days, but it came out really well. It's really not that hard. It just takes patience. So, I'm at it again (causing my parents again to question my sanity). I'm excited.
So, I made the meringue tonight. I love making meringue. Everyone says it's hard, but it really isn't . . . it just needs some special handling.
That's why you let these cool in the oven. As long as you do that, they shouldn't crack.
Tonight, I was having issues with separating the eggs though. That's important for making meringues too -- there can't be any yolk in the whites.
Mom got a new egg separator for Christmas . . . as cute as he is, he didn't do a very good job because I'm used to a much finer separator. I guess I need to practice.
Two tries later, I finally got it.
My favorite part of making the meringue is adding the peppermint extract. It's so strong, you can actually hear it fizzing when it hits the egg white mixture.
I also discovered tonight that the mixer that I regularly use for my baking is far older than I am. The things you learn when you're baking.
Oh, and when you're making the parchment rectangles, make sure you make the two that are going on the single baking sheet close enough so they will fit. I forgot about that small detail.
And, I suppose, even though this cake isn't THAT hard, it's nice to have an extra set of hands around occasionally. Having someone hold the parchment while you're spreading is a big help.
By the way, I got Julie and Julia for Christmas. Does it surprise you that it's one of my favorite movies? I find myself forgetting I'm watching Meryl Streep and slipping into the world of Julia Child. But, I discovered that Julie said something remarkably like the quote I posted during finals.
"You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That's such a comfort."
The same is true of beating egg whites with sugar. It will get fluffy. Then, if you bake them, it will be this wonderful, crispy, melt in your mouth meringue. Did I mention that I love meringue?