The world is at home and we all have to work with whatever it is that we have in abundance. In my case, that's always meringues. Besides, many of us have trees laden with lemons right now so this was really the perfect drink to make on this Friday that marks our 4 weeks of being in shelter.


I do recommend using a good quality limoncello in this recipe. My mother-in-law brought me a bottle from Villa Massa in Sorrento (from when we were all hopping across world borders like pieces on a chess board) and I've been dying to create something with this gorgeously fragrant liquor.





Clearly life has given us lemons right now so let us make a boozy lemon meringue drink. I'm not quite sure if this is a martini, all I know is that it tastes just like lemon meringue pie. Its pucker up tartness is off set by the sweetness of the meringue. The recipe is really just a guide so feel free to adjust to your taste. The quantities below serve two.


Ingredients:

2 oz vodka*

2 oz limoncello*

Juice of one large lemon

4 heaped tablespoons lemon curd

1 Cup ice cubes

6 Confetti Crunch Meringues


Method:

Mix all the ingredients together and give them a good shake in a cocktail shaker.

Float three Confetti Crunch Meringues on your drink

If you have a blowtorch flame the meringues lightly to toast them just a bit.


*Can substitute with simple syrup






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While I love all types of meringue I have a particular weakness for the French ones- the crunchy, crispy, light as air, melt in your mouth morsels that are part cotton candy, part marshmallow and part crispy cookie in one delectable bite. Yes, French meringues are great on their own as a sweet snack or dessert but I find that their versatility is completely overlooked and I am on a mission to share all the various ways in which great French meringues can elevate and enhance recipes.


Note that for this recipe, or any of the of the others that I will share that require French meringues, you cannot use the meringue cookies that you find packaged in industrial plastic tubs in most grocery stores across America. While I admittedly have a problem with plastic tubs it is actually the quality of the meringues with which I have the biggest beef. For recipes in which the texture and flavor of the meringue is important you must either use homemade meringues or meringues made in a small batch bakery like mine. Hint, hint, you can purchase them in the online meringue shop here- Yay!

Here is my son, Tahm's, favorite cream cheese frosting recipe (by Smitten Kitchen) to which I like to add Délice Glacé meringues in order to increase its creaminess and lend it a depth of flavor that complements the cake that I am baking.


In this instance, as Zar and I were baking a carrot cake for my Mom's Zoom birthday celebration so I decided to use Délice Glacé's Caramel Pink Salt meringues to give the frosting deep caramel notes that would work well with the cake. Its so exciting to use flavored meringues in this way because you can play around with different flavors to give your basic frosting recipe (or dare I say it- even store bought frosting) that oomph. Let me know what flavor combos you decide to try.





Ingredients

2 x 8 oz cream cheese packages softened (Philadelphia brand recommended)

2 sticks unsalted butter softened

2 Cups confectioner's sugar

2 tsp Vanilla extract

One pack of Délice Glacé's Caramel Pink Salt Meringues


Method

Beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth, light and fluffy. Beat in sugar, a little at a time to avoid a sugar snow storm. Add the vanilla and mix with the electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add in a handful of the meringues at a time. The blades of the mixer will satisfyingly break up the meringues. Add meringues to taste (you need not add the whole pack- leave some to snack on). If you use the frosting immediately, you will get nice crunchy bits of meringue. As the frosting sits, the meringues will dissolve and lend a creaminess to it.



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One of the unintended effects of being in shelter is that (much to my children's delight) I have the time to bake more than just meringues and meringue cakes. Their enthusiastic approval of my meringue confections may have fueled my passion for meringues but because they live in a veritable candy store they no longer yearn for my meringues. I'm not complaining- I really can't have them literally eating my profits :)


However, as I only typically bake meringues I rarely have more than sugar and eggs on hand in my home kitchen and I never have anything as exciting as buttermilk or cake flour. So when I have the urge to bake a "proper" cake I have to bake something simple that calls for the bare essential ingredients. This Victoria Sponge meets that criterion. Its an easy bake, uses the bare minimum ingredients and is the perfect accompaniment to tea or dessert.


I did use Délice Glacé meringues to decorate the cake. The meringues enhance the flavors of the cake and if you're not into elaborate piping they really do save a lot of time. Also, quite frankly I really can't help myself- I have a meringue problem.


Ingredients:

Cake:

2 sticks softened butter (salted or unsalted)

1 Cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Orange- 1 small, grated zest

3-4 Tablespoons rose syrup*

1 2/3 Cup All purpose flour

3Tbs cornstarch

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

4 large room temperature eggs

1/8 tsp cardamom powder**


For the filling:

Marmalade 1/4-1/2 C***

1 Cup heavy cream

2-3 Tbs confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons rose syrup or 2 tablespoons rose water


For the decoration:

Délice Glacé Rose Meringues - 1 packet

Délice Glacé Passion Fruit Meringues- 1 packet


2 x 8" cake pans


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease the pans and line the bases with parchment paper.


2. Beat the butter, sugar and orange zest till light and fluffy.


3. Measure the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and cardamom powder in another bowl. I always like to pass the baking powder through a sieve and stir with a whisk to combine.


4. Beat one egg into the creamed butter and sugar, followed by one tables spoon of the flour mixture. Add all four eggs in this pattern. Once all eggs are added, scrape down the bowl and gradually beat in the remaining flour mixture.


5. Once all the flour in incorporated. Add the rose syrup one tablespoon at a time and beat until your batter falls easily off a spoon (you may not need the full quantity of the syrup). Do not over beat.


6. Divide cake batter evenly between the pans. Place side by side on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20-25 or until a tester comes out clean.


7. Take out of the oven and leave on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.


8. Work on your filling while your cakes are baking . Thin out the marmalade with the rose syrup or rose water.


9. Whisk cold heavy whipping cream until it reaches soft peaks. Add the confectioners' sugar and whisk briefly to incorporate.


10. Once the cakes have cooled. Spread the marmalade and rose syrup mixture on one of the cakes.


11. Pipe or slather the whipped cream on top of the marmalade.


12. Put the other cake on top (flat side down).


13. Brush the remaining marmalade on top of the cake.


14. Decorate with the rose and passion fruit meringues. The flavors will give it that extra oomph and a great crunch. Plus your cake will instantaneously look amazing.


*Substitute rose syrup with orange juice if you don't have any

**If you only have cardamom pods remove seeds from 3-4 pods and crush as best as possible.

*** Marmalade is important but at these times just use any jam you can find. The flavor will be different but it will still work.




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