I know that visually unappealing food can be delightful to the taste buds. You know me--I think any really "good" food has to have two of three things to be truly successful:
I believe any dish or dessert or edible can get away with only two of these three, and be a winner. For example, avocado. It looks divine, and has a wonderful buttery, smooth texture, but doesn't really have much of a taste. I love it! (especially halved and paired with a large dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of lemon pepper) All the better if something looks amazing, tastes amazing and has great texture.
So here we have it, my signature dessert. I call it a Meringue Rave Swan because, well, not to blow my own horn too loudly, but it has got rave reviews every time it's been served. The name actually comes from a drink that is served at a quirky Melbourne bar called Madam Brussels. Mind you, if you're ever in Melbourne, do try and locate it. It's one of those bars that people only know about by word of mouth, and is an awesome terrace, garden-party style place on Bourke St. Anyway, we went there on my Hen's night, after a lovely time at a jazz bar, and we lovely ladies were served a giant cocktail in a porcelain swan. It is The Rave Swan. I don't know if they still sell them, but it has ever been impressed in me, and thus, the meringue swan has also taken on its name.
MERINGUE RAVE SWANS
2 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
3oz flaked almonds, lightly toasted
6 generous ice cream scoops
Preheat oven to 150C.
Beat the egg whites on the highest setting until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating well in between, until sugar dissolves, and the mixture is thick, smooth and glossy.
Draw 12 tear shapes onto two sheets of baking paper to use as guides for the swan's bodies. Pipe meringue mixture onto these sheets to fill in the shapes, making the meringue thicker at the widest part of the tear. Insert the tips of almonds at a slight angle over the tops of these tear shapes to resemble feathers. Bake for one hour, alternating the trays at the end of the first half hour. Cool with the oven door slightly ajar.
With the remaining meringue, pipe S shapes onto another lined baking tray. Pipe a few extra in case of breakage. Bake in the oven until golden, and cool with the door ajar.
Just before serving, wedge two teardrops together with a generous ball of ice cream to assemble the body and insert the S shape to form the swan's head.
Makes 6 Swans
NOTES: Do not assemble swan and then store in the refrigerator, as the meringue will soften and the swan will not stand. Store meringue in an airtight container until ready to serve, then pair with ice cream on the serving plate.
|Drinking The Rave Swan on my Hen's at Madam Brussels, Melbourne|