Food Friday–thinking about baking edition
The daughter of our synagogue’s cantor is having a Bat Mitzvah tomorrow. people were asked to bake desserts. I made meringues, lots of them.
Normally I will make a batch of meringues with three or four egg whites. This time I was making a bigger batch so I began with six egg whites.
If you want to make meringues, all you need to remember is that each egg white needs one 1/4 cup of sugar. Egg whites are helped along in their fluffiness with a bit of salt. You beat the salty eggs until they look like a kid’s fantasy of a good bubble bath. Then you add in the sugar in teeny increments as you continue to beat. I tend to think that meringues are improved by adding a bit or starch to the mixture, I still have part of a bag of potato starch left over from last Passover so I added potato starch. When the egg whites were really glossy and were an impressive snowy mass of peaks I added a glop of vanilla and mixed a bit more. I then folded in a whole lot of chocolate chips. Feel free to add any goodies that make your mouth happy. I am partial to chopped pecans .
I baked the meringues in little baking paper cups set out on a baking tray. I baked them at 305 until they were crisp to the touch.
I then put up the challah.
My older son had planned to cook with me. I let him choose of he wanted to be in charge of the main dish or the challah. He chose to do the chicken. I love having a cooking partner. Both my husband and I brought home pomegranates on the same day earlier in the week. Because we have a surplus, it made sense for my son to make pomegranate lime chicken. Our friend and houseguest Judy and brought us a large jar of beautiful ground coriander so that is the spice used with the chicken.
The meringues meant that I had six egg yolks hanging around with nothing to do. I used one to glaze the challot. I suppose I could have made a super yolky omelet for myself. Instead I decided to make a sponge cake.
I know that every cookbook tells you that no one should ever just wing a cake. I just broke all the rulesand made up a sponge cake. I have been reading cookbooks since I was old enough to read English. I was also my mother’s baking assistant for years and years. While I assisted my mother she used to talk about the physical qualities you looked for as you proceeded through a recipe. Never the less, I added two more egg yolks to the collection of yolks and beat them up with a cup of sugar until they were light yellow and thick and foamy.
I beat the egg whites with salt. I then mixed a cup of flour and a teaspoon of baking powder together. I added the egg whites alternately to the yolk mixture while continuing to mix with the electric mixer. Once everything was well mixed I grated the rind of a lime into the batter with a Microplane and then squeezed the juice of the lime into the batter using the Microplane as a strainer so no seeds got into the cake batter. I beat the batter for a few more minutes and then put the batter into a parchment paper lined 9 x 13 pan.
I baked the cake on the bottom shelf of the oven while the challah baked.
I over baked the cake by a few minutes. I cut the cake in 1/2 and made a lime and ginger syrup and poured it over the cake and put ready made poppy seed filling between the layers.
It looks like a real cake to me, even if it was made up.