Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red Wine Italian Meringue Clouds with Sweet Strawberries


This might be a problem.

Last night when I was baking, I asked Jonathan to grab me a bag of sugar from the back room (the "cantina"). I had run out of my supply in the kitchen - no surprises there.

Turns out that it was my last bag in the back. Jon recalls that we bought at least 4 or 6 kilos last week. Yup. We did. And yup. It's all gone.

To think I go through a bag of sugar a week or more scares me a little bit. Mostly because all of the desserts that the sugar gets made into typically end up in my stomach.

Doctors would hate me. My mom's a nurse...but I think she's used to me.

Still not a single cavity though! Cool.

This light, gluten-free Springtime dessert certainly isn't shy about sugar. Not at all.


It uses 1 cup for the meringues alone. Hmm....it's fat-free though! Does that make up for it?

This is Italian Meringue, which is a meringue that is made from a boiled sugar syrup as opposed to regular granulated sugar like in French Meringue, making it very stable. The heat denatures or unfolds the bunched up proteins, which makes them more attracted to air so that they're more likely to form air bubbles. The sugar binds water in the egg whites to make sure they don't weep or separate. Smart stuff.


After making the meringue, I spooned it into a large piping bag fitted with a big star tip and piped it into little nests. First you make a circle to form the base, and then you go around twice to form the sides.


I like to make these meringue shells the Italian way, because it allows me to put red wine in it. Instead of adding water to the sugar to make the syrup, I add red wine. I couldn't do this if I was making meringue the French or the Swiss way. Italians know what they're doing.


I also bake these little cuties until they're just golden brown. This gives them a slight caramely flavour that tastes incredible with the red wine. It's like....red wine caramel.

Once they come out of the oven and dry out a bit, they're super crisp. Then, when you spoon the strawberries and their sauce over the shells just before serving, they begin to soften and turn into marshmallow.

Gorgeous.


Want to know something really great? These freeze well. So if you ever need something sweet in a pinch, let them defrost, fill them up with fresh fruit and......

BINGO! Presto chango! Voila! You have dessert.

I filled them with some gently stewed macerated strawberries. It's magic.

Welcome back Spring! We missed you...


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50 comments:

  1. Looks incredible. And no comments on the sugar consumption:)

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  2. Wow this dessert is just stunning! I love the addition of the red wine to the meringue clouds. What a great idea. I can't get over how gorgeous your photos are. I'm subscribing right now!

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  3. oh my, this made my mouth water. I ought to try this. they're just beautiful. love your blog.

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  4. I love the addition of red wine to the meringue...this is very sophisticated and fun at the same time, love it!

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  5. Gorgeous, indeed! Absolutely brilliant dessert! And the fact that it freezes well makes it that much cooler :)

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  6. Beautiful dessert and it looks so elegant.

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  7. OMG! This looks ridiculously amazing!!!

    Mary xo
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  8. Beautiful!!! I love that they are gluten free AND dairy free! I can't wait to make these!

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  9. @Julia You're right - it is dairy-free. I hadn't noticed that. Nice one.

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  10. These ar gorgeous! They remind me of mini pavlova's - so cute and delicious looking!

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  11. I love the shape of these meringues. Looks heavenly delicious.

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  12. These look beautiful and delicious! I love Italian meringue and I love that you added red wine. Genius! Definitely have to try this recipe :-)

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  13. What a wonderful idea to add red wine to mirengue :-) and the final product looks great!
    I love your blog, will be following it from now on.

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  14. It looks so good! I love it! What sugar ROFL we just can;t be without it LOL ;)

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  15. wow!!! that looks very delicious!!!! ... i wanna have one right now!!! ...great photos!!! congrats!!!

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  16. Gorgeous photos! What a fabulous dessert~

    Congrats on the Top 9! Definitely deserving!!!!

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  17. Are you sure, when you add hot syrup to the egg whites, they won't be scrambled eggs? :))))))

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  18. Wow that's amazing! Kinda drooling :)

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  19. That looks delicious. I should probably try that recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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  20. This is just magnificently decadent with a touch of sweetness you just can't match.

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  21. It's really amazing how wines make the taste of a certain recipe more delicious and yummier. I love red wines as well. In fact, I always have a glass of red wine whenever I eat steak. Anyway, thanks for sharing the recipe. I am going to try this Red Wine Italian Meringue Clouds with Sweet Strawberries.

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  22. That looks delicious indeed. My wife loves pastries and sweets. I'm pretty sure that she'll love it. The 3 tbsp of red wine made that meringue a perfect dessert. Anyway, can we use any kind of red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon?

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