Thursday, 19 April 2012

Meringues and custard

I made a resolution at New Year to cook something new every week. Each new food would be something that I had not tried before, to increase my culinary skills. I have spent a lot of time with my nose in the Wagamama cook book, and have been pleasantly surprised by the ease of cooking those dishes. My addiction to baking has meant that most of my new dishes have been sweet ones, often eye-wateringly sweet at that.

I have a fabulous book that my husband bought for me called Homestyle Cookies, Muffins and Cakes which I am working my way through. I have to adapt most recipes to make them dairy-free as Charlotte is allergic to milk protein, and all the recipes I have tried from this book have adapted beautifully. Two of our favourites are the ginger tray bake and the orange and poppy seed cake (my version is below).

Anyway, I realised that I had never tried to make a meringue before. This thought escalated, as my ideas generally do, to incorporate the school bake sale that is happening this friday, themed around St George. White meringues and red fruit, it all seems to be coming together nicely. So I did a practice batch to see if I could do it and voila, the result:
I used natural sugar, not white, so they are a bit brown, but they are fluffy and crunchy so I guess I got the cooking right. A good friend who has chickens dropped some eggs in for me this morning, so I have the ingredients to make some more with white sugar, ready for the sale tomorrow.

All good? Not quite. I tried to make dairy-free custard with the extra egg yolks, and created a bubbly, lumpy, wobbly goo that the children refused to eat for their pudding last night. The flavour was ok, but the texture was so wrong it was untrue. I think I'll stick to Alpro cartons in future.

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