; Supermarket Serenade: A Heavenly Treat

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Heavenly Treat

I have always had a sweet tooth. In fact, I am hard pressed to think of a sweet I don't like. And guess what? This week's Barefoot Blogger recipe is no exception. I loved it!!! I can't wait to make it again.

First and foremost I would like to extend a thank you to BMK of Reservations Not Required for selecting this week's recipe: Meringues Chantilly from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris (page 176). Twice a month food bloggers across the blog-o-sphere prepare a tasty delight created by the Barefoot Contessa herself Ina Garten...why don't you join us?

February was my month to host my book group (lovingly called The Women Not In Need of Botox Book Group). We are a group of 10 ladies who have been reading, discussing (and eating) together for 11 years now. This month's selection was 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper-a book based on the true story of a man who after a horrible car accident spends 90 minutes in heaven before coming back to life. Now tell me that this was not the perfect dessert to pair with that book?? Heavenly cloud metaphors aside...eating this treat was truly 5 minutes in heaven.
I only made a few small changes to my version of Ina's recipe: I changed some of the fruit...replacing the raspberries with a combination of blackberries and strawberries which were on sale at Whole Foods...the raspberries were just astronomical so I thought a substitution was necessary. I suppose I could have used frozen berries, but I really wanted to use fresh. I also substituted Chambord for the Framboise because I had that in the house.

The group gave ten thumbs up for the dessert...and the book? Well, it was definitely met with mixed reviews. From a personal standpoint I wanted to love it. I lost my (very young) mother last year after a brief battle with cancer and I wanted to feel some sort of comfort from the book. While in some ways I did feel that comfort, I suppose that greedily I wanted more heaven in the book...I wanted to hear more about heaven and to be reassured that she is safely surrounded by those who love her. While briefly that reassurance is there in the book...I just wish there had been more. I am left to simply return to my faith and belief that she is in a blessed peaceful place. Come to think of it, perhaps that's just what Don Piper intended.
Meringues Chantilly
6 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur, recipe follows
Stewed berries, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.

Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.

Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur:
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla and orange liqueur and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't overbeat, or you'll end up with butter!
Yield: 4 cups

Stewed berries:
1 half-pint fresh blueberries
3 half-pints fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons framboise (raspberry brandy)

Combine the blueberries, one-half pint of raspberries, 1/3 cup water, the sugar and zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. The juice will become a syrup and the berries will be slightly cooked. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and the framboise. Set aside.
Yield: 8 servings


Anonymous said...

They sure look pretty!

I have been interested in reading that book...maybe I will give it a try:-)

Maria said...

I will have to look into that book. I am always up for a new read! What a beautiful dessert!!

Jennifer said...

I love chambourd--my favorite margatias is made with it. I will give these meringes a try.

Lisa said...

These look wonderful. I hope to be making them by tomorrow. I read the book for the same reason as you and feel the same way. It seemed the book was more about his suffering than what he experienced in heaven so I was a bit dissappointed. but it was an amazing story!

Allie said...

Oh wow they look so fancy! I love the plate it's on too!

Donna-FFW said...

Oh, they look so pretty, so elegant, and so light. What a great presentation!

Emily said...

These look delish! I'll have to give them a try..with maybe a chocolate filling! YUM!

Anonymous said...

Oh hon. I'm sorry you didn't get what you intended out of the book... but perhaps that was the plan all along, no? I think Heaven is our own personal dream of life with Him. For each of us it's different. I often imagine my grandpapa's heaven is sitting at the foot of the thrown with the largest bowl of candy and cookies you've ever imagined.

The meringues look great! I really wish I had done berries. They look so good!


rookie cookie said...

Beautiful pictures!!!!!!!!!

I keep meaning to comment and tell you how awesome your blog is. Great info, great pix, great ideas. You are so unique in how you find stuff at the store and make it your own.

Just wanted to let you know your efforts are not going unnoticed.

Anonymous said...

Your dessert looks lovely. I used Chambord, too, and I loved the stewed berries.

Robin Sue said...

Veronica- I am sorry to hear about your Mom dying so young. I hate getting older and closer to the fact that I too will start losing loved ones. A book that has brought me comfort is "A Room of Marvels". I usually give it to friends or family who have lost loved ones. The 90 minutes in heaven book I could not get into. I think it bothered me that he wrote it so many years after the fact. Did he need the money? What was really memory vs. wishes? It just sat wrong with me. The dessert looks wonderful! Have a great weekend!

Suzie said...

The berries look gorgeous on top of your meringue. Don't you love the chambord bottle as well - so regal!

BMK said...

Gorgeous! Your book club is very lucky. At least if the book wasn't a winner this dessert was!

Tonya @ What's On My Plate said...

yours look DELICIOUS. I also passed on the raspberries because I couldn't stomach the price.