Here is one of my signature recipes – meringue swans with fresh strawberry sauce. These wonderful meringues should be made ahead. You will need two pastry bags (I prefer ones that are disposable. Look for them at party supply stores) and two pastry tips – one a large star and one simply round.
Store the baked meringues in a cool place. Keep them away from sun and humidity or they will get sticky.
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups extra fine sugar
- slivered almonds (for beaks)
- 3 cups thawed, frozen strawberries (not sweetened)
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup extra fine sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange flavor liqueur (optional)
French vanilla ice cream
fresh strawberries for garnish
To make the swans
Using the whip attachment, begin whipping the whites on medium. When beginning to form, add the cream of tartar.
Increase speed to high. When whites begin getting stiff, start adding the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time.
Continue to beat on high, adding the sugar a little at a time, until completely incorporated.
When all the sugar has been added, whip whites for several minutes until very stiff. The finished meringue will hold
a very stiff peak when you lift the beaters (see photo at right)
To pipe the meringue swans
Place 3/4 of the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Place the remaining meringue into a pastry
bag fitted with a round tip, about 1/4 inch in diameter. (I like to use disposable pastry bags available at many
party stores such as Michael’s.)
Have two baking sheets ready. They should each be lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees
Pipe 6 oblong circles on one of the lined pans. They six circles should be completely filled in with meringue.
Carefully pipe two more “rounds” of meringue on top of each circle. If you have meringue left, make additional
rounds. Depending on the size of your rounds, you will get between 6 and 8 rounds. These will be your swan “bodies.”
With the other pastry bag, pipe long backward “S” ‘s on the other lined sheet pan. I start with a small
“mound” (for the head) then move my pastry bag down to finish the “S”. Place an almond in the small mound (head)
to create a “beak.” I always make extra swan heads as they are very delicate and can break easily (which I learned
on my first catering job!)
Place the swans in the preheated oven. If using a gas oven, place the bodies on the bottom level and the heads in
the middle of the oven (The bodies will cook faster next to the heating element).
If using a gas oven – If using gas, bake for 40 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let sit in the oven 5 to 6 hours to completely dry out.
If using an electric oven – If using an electric oven, place both pans in the oven then immediately reduce the oven to 200 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes then check the heads. They will finish first. If dry, remove from the oven. Continue baking the bodies until dry, about another 45 minutes to an hour. If bodies are still not “dry” bake a little longer. Be careful not to over bake or the swans will not stay pure white.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Store away from heat and sun.
To make the strawberry sauce
Place the thawed strawberries and 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 3 to 4 minutes, until
completely smooth. Taste. Add more sugar if desired and the additional liqueur if using.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To plate the swans
Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of each body. Carefully place a “head” on the swan.
Fan a strawberry and place on other side of swan body. Surround swan with strawberry sauce.
If desired, pipe cream anglaise (custard sauce) and drag a tooth pick through to make “hearts.”
Zizi from the Inn at Kristofer’ staff holds a finished swan!