I’m done with pumpkin, I’m pumpkined out (note: it only took 3 recipes to do that!!) I got on the bandwagon, I drove it for a while and now, I’m done. Did I change my opinion and become a pumpkin loving convert? Um…no. I don’t dislike it, but I just don’t love it like some people do.
Now, once again, this is only the Jack O’Lantern/sugar pie pumpkins, I still enjoy butternut, acorn and other winter squash. But, I’m done with pumpkin; until next fall when I will give it another go.
So, onto other delicious things that are available now; chocolate, for example. I find that I make very few chocolate desserts during summer. I think the delight of seeing so many fresh, summer berries and fruit just draws me to them and imagination runs wild. Come winter though, I really begin to crave chocolate. I’ve already made chocolate cake, brownies and cookies for us over the past few weeks, basically as soon as the weather turned cold and has remained cold, I’ve been cranking out chocolate confections. There is something instantly warming and comforting about gooey chocolate desserts whether they are served with ice cream or warm custard.
This isn’t a warm chocolate dessert though but its incredibly good. Once again, it came about because I needed to use up egg whites that were left over from my pecan tart. I originally wanted to make macarons but was plain out of nut flour of any kind and making my own just seems too much work for that day!
Taking the easy way out and working with what was in my fridge that day, I decided to make these White Chocolate Mousse Meringues. Ok, so it’s not a true mousse but it sounded better than white chocolate cream, and as food bloggers we know that coming up with fancy names makes the dish even more delicious ;). These can be considered mini pavlovas, I suppose, since I did use a pavlova base. But, whatever you want to call them, all I know is that they are pretty darned good.
They are also way easy to make and pretty stunning on a plate for a fancy dinner or even a buffet. They hold up remarkably well in the fridge for a few hours and so, can be made ahead. The topping I used is some very good quality French preserves. My thinking is that if you have some of your fruit preserved from the summer, you can whip it out now and enjoy it atop a creamy and crunchy base. The homemade preserves will add a personal and seasonal touch. I didn’t get to make much jam this year, except for a few jars of peach jam, so I used a four berry preserve (Dalfour). I wanted a more berry flavour, but you can use whatever jam you like.
If you are looking for inspiration, here are a few that my friends have made over the past few weeks: Bam’s Kitchen has this perfect quick and easy Bammer’s Jammers made with cranberries and strawberries which would be a perfect sweet tart addition to the sweet white chocolate mousse, The Bartolini Kitchens just posted a very seasonal Quince Jam, which many would use on savoury dishes, I think it would work nicely here too, and Sugar et al has a gorgeous Rhubarb, Orange, Ginger Jam you can try, especially if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and your spring/summer fruits are coming in.
The meringues take a couple of hours at most to bake and the mousse takes only a few minutes, but it does have to chill. They can be assembled ahead and they will still be crispy when served.
I wanted the meringues to be a pink hue with the white cream but since I’ve stopped using food colouring, and I was all out of my natural colours, they’ve stayed a white with a cream hue. You can add a touch of colour for some festivity. I’m sure they’d look very pretty in pink and white.
- 5 egg whites, organic
- 1¼ cups/250g granulated cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons vinegar, organic
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, organic
- 2 cups/475mL heavy whipping cream, organic
- 6oz/170g white chocolate, good quality bar or chips
- 6 tablespoons or more good quality preserves
- Preheat the oven to 300℉/150℃
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 6 4"(10cm) circles on the underside.
- Set aside.
- Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Add the sugar and beat until glossy and thick.
- Add the cornstarch and the vinegar and blend until just incorporated.
- Dollop the egg whites onto the parchment paper using the drawn circles as a guide or can pipe the egg whites to make a basket/nest to hold the mousse.
- Turn down the oven to 250℉/120℃
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and allow the shell to cool completely in the oven.
- Take ⅔ cups/160mL of the heavy cream and melt it with the white chocolate in bowl over simmering water or in the microwave, at 30 second intervals.
- If using the microwave, after each 30 second interval, take out the bowl and stir to mix and melt the mixture together.
- It took 90 seconds for me, but your microwave might take more or less time, as microwaves are all different.
- One the mixture is melted and homogenous, let it sit on the counter for about 20-30 minutes until slightly thickened and cool.
- Meanwhile, whip the remaining 1⅓ cups/315mL of heavy cream to stiff peaks.
- Once the white chocolate mixture is cool, fold it into the whipped cream.
- Blend carefully but thoroughly and then chill for at least 2 hours before spooning into meringues.
- To serve, spoon about ¾ cup mousse into the middle of the cooled meringue shells and add a dollop of fruit preserve on top and garnish with a sprig of mint.
I’ve been enjoying everyone’s Christmas cookie and biscuit posts thoroughly, who knew there were so many different types of cookies?! I don’t know how I am going to be able to try and bake them all. It will take me at least a year!
Happy baking everyone! I hope everyone is keeping warm (at least in the Northern Hemi), we’ve had such frigid temperatures these last few days that I don’t even want to crawl out of bed let alone drive and run errands in below zero temperatures. I’m surviving on tea, coffee and my warm, fuzzy socks. Have a great weekend everyone!