Monthly Mystery Munchies #34: Berry Meringues with Pistachios

Four attempts. Four. That’s how many times it took me to get the meringues to look like this! Who knew whipping eggs and sugar would be this hard? I learned that it’s all about timing, from how long to whip the eggs to how long to bake the meringues and leave them to cool in the oven. But once I figured it out, it was plain sailing. This is all thanks to my stepmom. High five, Shell!

 

When Ann from Grubbs ‘n Critters suggested April’s Monthy Mystery Munchies theme – berries and pistachios, I was instantly hooked. I love berries. I eat them every day. They make me happy. I also love nuts, all nuts, but pistachios are right up there for me. So, I decided to finally put my past meringue failures aside and get it right. My last attempt was about two years ago buuut I’ve wanted to try again for a while. My stepmom is an amazing cook, and she gave me a handwritten book with all her recipes a couple of years ago. She makes droolworthy meringues, so I used her recipe and it worked. Yaaaasssss! Proud to no longer be a loser in this category. I used a mixture of berrries with a strawberry compote. Like denim on denim, berry on berry is quite acceptable these days.

Credit: Grubbs ‘n Critters

 

This month, Ann made savoury cake. If you’re unsure, listen to this “soft, gooey Camembert cheese sprinkled with crushed pistachios underneath layers and layers of filo delicately brought together with melted butter. It is then topped again with blueberry sauce before crinkling the filo together at the top, drizzle it with more blueberry sauce and pistachios.” It’s a savoury revolution! Check it out!

Berry Meringues with Pistachios and Compote

Supplies:

Meringue:
6 egg whites
180 grams castor sugar
180 grams icing sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream or tartar.

Strawberry Compote:
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
2 cups fresh or frozen cherries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice

Topping:
Mixed berries (I used frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
2 tablespoons finely chopped pistach

Making it Happen

Preheat your oven to just below 100°
Beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Lastly add the cream of tartare and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form (approximately 3 minutes. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down.)
Fill a piping bag with the meringue mixture.
Line a large baking tray with parchement paper.
Pipe the meringue mixture in circles.
Bake for 1.5 hours. Thereafter, turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside, with the door closed. for four hours.

Compote:

Heat the sugar and orange juice on medium, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves.
Chop the strawberries and cherries and add them to the pot. Simmer on medium-low for 10 – 15 minutes, until the fruit is completely soft.
Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.

Topping it Off:

Fill the centres of the meringues with mixed fruit and pistachios.
Drizzle the compote over the sides of the meringues and serve!

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Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

Upside down cake 10It’s time to go retro! It’s nearly Spring in the Southern Hemisphere which naturally calls for a fruity cake. I use my basic vanilla cake recipe for this upside down cake and I always use buttermilk as it ensures the cake is moist and fluffy.

Let me give you a rundown of my most recent attempt. Off I go to the supermarket, taking a leisurely stroll and enjoying the warmer weather. I get there and start cruising the aisles for ingredients. For some reason I’m in a bit of a daze so I’m standing at the tinned food section, see a large tin of pineapples and grab it without reading the label properly. Perfect. Right next to the pineapples is tinned cherries. Again, I grab a tin and carry on with my shopping. I get home, filled with excitement (it doesn’t take much, baking does that to me), and open the tins. Crap. I’ve bought chunks of pineapples instead of rings. Oh bother. Not to worry, we’ll carry on as usual. I open the cherries and I’m like, these aren’t glacé cherries. Really? Double crap, double bother. Now, I’m so excited to bake this cake so I soldier ahead, cut the cherries in half, remove the pips and make the batter. The reason I’m telling you this is because traditionally, pineapple rings are used, be they tinned or fresh, as are glacé cherries. But no, I had to complicate things. You can use pineapple chunks, they work beautifully, as do regular tinned red cherries, just remove the pips. However, you can substitute the chunks with rings and red cherries with glacé (I recommend this to avoid the schlep).

Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Upside Down Cake 1Supplies:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Pineapple rings or chunks
  • Glacé cherries

 

  • For the cake:
  • ¼ cup pecans, crushed in your hand
  • 1¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Making it happen:

Upside Down Cake 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt ½ cup of butter in a heavy-based saucepan on medium. Once it’s melted, add ½ cup of brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it starts bubbling. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a 25cm (10″) cake tin.

Upside down cake 112. Layer the pineapple pieces and cherries in the melted butter syrup and sprinkle the hand-crushed pecans over them (give them a decent hearty squeeze to crush them).

 

 

Upside Down Cake 53. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and stir/whisk until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla, stirring until thoroughly mixed.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 64. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake at 180 for 40 minutes, until a toothpick instered in the middle comes our clear. If the toothpick is still wet, back for another 5 minutes until the toothpick passes the test.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 9 15. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Hold a plate or cakestand upside down over the cake tin, pressing down firmly. Flip over, tap the cake tin gently and slowly remove. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.