When Things Don’t Work and When they DoPosted: February 27, 2009
The other day I thought it would be great to have some aioli. Since we have a food processor I thought it would be a breeze. I didn’t want to use up 2 eggs to make it though because I didn’t think it would all be consumed within a week, so I just used one yolk and saved the white. I think that was the problem because it never emulsified properly. I thought, well I will just add some rice vinegar and make it into a weird Caesar salad type dressing. After adding the rice vinegar, it thickened up quickly and became more like mayo. I guess the acidity of the lemon juice I used (not fresh, I admit) just wasn’t enough. There is now a small jar of some very vinegary mayo/dressing in our fridge that needs to be poured over some vegetables before the week is over.
In an effort to be frugal, I made some meringues out of the lone egg white and they came out great! Meringues are great to satisfy a sweet craving, cheap to create and make great little gifts. You can also add all sorts of flavorings to them (mocha, chocolate, almond, pistachio, etc). Initially, I was going to follow Bittman’s recipe, but I only had one egg white, not two. While searching the internet to find the right ratio of sugar to egg white, I came across a page (can’t find it now) that said to bake the meringues for 18 minutes at 325F. Every other recipe I’ve read says to slow bake them (dehydrate really) at 250 or turning the oven to high heat, putting them in and then shutting the oven off and letting them sit overnight. I was intrigued and tried out baking the meringues at the higher temperature because the site said the centers would be a little more chewy. It worked! They definitely hit the sweet spot.
Meringues also make great “bowls.” When you pipe out your meringue mixture, form it in the shape of a little bowl – start in the middle and start swirling towards the outside and build the sides of the bowl. You can serve fresh fruit, mousse or even ice-cream (careful) in them.
1 Egg Meringues
Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Let egg white get to room temperature and then whisk until soft peaks form. Add 4 tablespoons of sugar, a tiny pinch of cream of tartar and an even tinier pinch of salt. Whip mixture until egg whites are stiff and glossy (they should be able to stand up on their own almost). Put into a plastic bag, snip a corner off and make rounds on the lined baking sheet. You can make any shape you like really, but if they’re really small or thin, they will bake more quickly. Put in the oven for 15 minutes and take a peek when the time is up. When the tops are VERY light brown, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Eat.