Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Meringue Birch Smudges

It must have been either hubris or stupidity that led me to attempt the Meringue Birch Twigs recipe from the Baking Bible. Especially when every time I open the freezer door I'm confronted with the miserable, chewy failure of the dattelkonfekt (date meringues). Especially when Rose herself warned the Alpha Bakers that these become bendy rather than twiggy in humidity. Especially since the experiences of my fellow Alpha Bakers confirmed this. Plus it was piping.

I'm not sure which of the excuses I prefer. Why don't we call it the triumph of hope over experience. Plus a degree of excitement over using up some of my frozen stash of egg whites.

The result was inevitable. Those meringue stripes you see below had to be scraped off the paper with a palette knife, each one becoming a compressed chocolate marshmallow smudge. They tasted delicious, although after eating quite a few smudges, I am feeling a little ill.

I wasn't so optimistic that I made the whole meringue recipe into twigs. That would have been foolish in the extreme. Most of the mix I made into normal meringues which were much crispier.

One of the reasons I made the effort with this recipe is because meringues are very easy to make, particularly in a stand mixer. I make them quite often when I need to take something to work because they're easy to make and transport, and a lot of people like them. I'm not sure why the meringues turn out crispy in the teardrop shape but soft in twig shape? Maybe something about surface area?

I did try baking the twigs for longer than specified in the recipe to try and dry them out. But my theory didn't work out.

The piping didn't go too badly except for a few uncontrolled wiggles. My worst problem with piping is usually ending up with the mixture oozing out of the top of the piping bag, all over my hands and up my arm. This time I tried not to put too much mixture in the bag, which is tricky because who wants to keep refilling the bag hallway through the job? Not this impatient baker, that's for sure.

Next week the Alpha Bakers are making ChocolaTea Cake. Sounds good.


  1. I was laughing from the "dattelkonfekt" :D They do look pretty with the chocolate. Glad you got some other crispy meringue shapes.

  2. Catherine, not only do your posts make my day, now they increase my vocabulary! I had to look up "hubris"-what an appropriate word to define nearly all the Alpha baking from my end. I think I should have it printed on a cook's apron. This was the recipe I've long dreaded because...piping... as well so very glad it's over. That was smart to make half the recipe into round shapes.

  3. Oh no. I'm sorry you had so much trouble. Mine turned out very crispy - so much so, they break almost instantly upon contact. It was fairly dry here so I let them sit out all night and the softened just a smidge, but still very crispy. Here's a tip I like to tell my students - use a large pastry bag (18 or 20 inches). You won't have to refill it and the extra length prevents oozing out the top (a rubber band helps too).

  4. It seems we all had similar experiences. Still yours looks very pretty!