Today's attempt at beginners culinary conquest was cardamom meringues. So far I have only made sloppy-crispy sweet omelettes. Although unique, I don't think most people would order one in a patisserie.
Determined to master the meringue, having friends over for dinner tomorrow night was the perfect excuse to get my bake on.
I followed a recipe on the BBC website (if you type in cardamom meringue on google, it comes up), but found I had to use my knowledge ascertained through practice and other websites. Delia is pretty insistent that you whisk meringue slowly to get the stiff peaks (and I'm sure she also insists that you get the giggling out of your system sooner rather than later too..). I used an electric whisk, which was a gift from an ex-flat mate who I used to flutter eyelashes and ask to do all my whisking for me...I kept the whisk on the lowest setting, gently moving it around the bowl.
Now, apparently the sugar stabilises the mix, so I decided not too get to upset when my egg whites weren't very stiff. Through the fear and doubt, I soldiered on, slowly adding the sugar (yes, SLOWLY, as Lady Delia insists), and lo! Hark! Hwaet! The mixture stabilized! ('Hwaet' is the Middle English equivalent for 'Yo', as on 'Yo, check 'dis out', honestly). It wasn't what I personally would call stable, but I guess in baking-terms it is.
Anyway, I folded in the cardamom seeds using a spatula, unelegently stuffed the mixture into a piping bag, and piped away...
I've learnt I'm quite tenacious...and impatient...and frankly quite disobedient...all of which are bad qualities for baking.
If the recipe says leave alone for an hour. LEAVE IT ALONE WOMAN is what I had to tell myself every time I was tempted to peek into the oven...I did as I was told, for once. Et voi la:
I'm planning to serve these pretentious delights with blackforest fruits, fresh mint, and soya cream.
TODAY'S LESSON: Do are you're told! You can bargain about oven temperature etc, but generally (and honestly) have faith in the culinary champions. They teach us for a reason.