Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Delicious De"light"ful Dessert

Is anyone else stuffed to the gills by now? And we still have two weeks until the New Year! Far be it for me to ever say no to a plate of delicious holiday fare, but I think I'm coming up on my limit.  Of course, that will never prevent me from indulging, but I think I'm going to lean towards some lighter forms of sustenance until the end of the season.

Here is a great little dessert that's enough to end the day on a sweet note, without feeling like you'll have to be rolled to bed.  I made it as a birthday treat for a friend, but it would be great to bring to a holiday party or as a homemade Christmas present as well.  Much better than fruitcake in my opinion!
(Does anyone actually eat that stuff anyways?)

Raspberry Lime Meringues Nests

3 egg whites at room temperature
(If you are ambitious, you can save the yolks for ice cream.  If you are me, then you'll dump them down the garbage disposal and pat yourself on the back for using the 'healthy' part of the egg, conveniently ignoring the sugar content in this recipe)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp Razzmatazz liqueur
Rose pink gel food coloring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp chocolate extract
4 oz cream cheese
Lime curd
(You can make this yourself, but I buy Dickinson's every time I need a lemon or lime curd.  It's more shelf stable and tastes dee-li-ci-ous) 
Mint l


Stiff Peaks!


Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or with parchment paper.  If using parchment paper, be sure to weigh down the edges so it doesn't move when piping the meringues.  Stability is key for this recipe!

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and flavorings to soft peaks using a whisk attachment.  Color the meringue to personal taste. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar, 1/3 cup at a time until stiff peaks form.

Note the Leaning Tower of Meringue in the upper left corner

Fill a large piping bag with the meringue.  I fitted a Wilton 1M star tip to the bag to make it pretty, but you can even just cut a small hole in the tip of the bag and pipe that way as well.
Starting from the center, pipe outwards in a spiral to form a flat circle. Don't leave any holes, or you won't be able to fill the nests without leaking.  The diameter is personal preference.  I made mine approximately 2 1/2 inches.  Carefully, build a wall by piping circles (higher and higher) around the outer edge of the base.
You must make sure that your wall is 90 degrees to the base, or else your nests will start to lean.

Carefully transfer the sheet pan to the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cream 1/3 cup sugar with cream cheese.  When fully incorporated, add the whipping cream, chocolate extract and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and whip to stiff peaks.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 2D star tip with the whipped cream.

After the 45 minutes of baking time has elapsed, turn off oven and leave tray in oven 15 minutes more until the meringues are crisp and feel light. The base may still be a bit soft, but don't worry, it will firm up when cooled completely.

You can store the meringues within an air-tight container in a cool, dry place for up to a few days.

Spoon layer of lime curd into nest to cover the bottom, and fill 2/3 full.  Pipe whipped cream to fill the remainder of the nest. Then overlapping a small portion of the edge of the nest, pipe towards the center to create a pyramid of whipped cream.

Top with a couple of raspberries and a mint leaf. (And some edible glitter if you're like me and love sparkles!)

Now they're ready!  Again, makes a great gift.  And you know, you can always gift something to yourself. . . right? Just a thought! ;)

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