By: Amy Weinberg
'Tis the season for pumpkin, am I right? In a world where pumpkin rules the months of September, October, and November, blogging without this orange fruit almost felt blasphemous.
I decided to take a swing at some meringue after seeing an adorable pumpkin meringue recipe online. I've only every experienced meringue on top of pies and didn't even know that it could stand on its own as a cookie.
Meringue is not as complicated as one may think. With only 4 simple ingredients, the only headache you'll run into is the preparation. As is the case with most baking, patience is key. Patience will transform OK meringue into thick, stiff, beautiful peaks. Patience is something I do not have.
Along with your patience, the other 4 ingredients you will need are 2 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 cup sugar, and food coloring.
Step 1: Preheat your over to 275 degrees and place wax paper on a cookie sheet.
Step 2: Separate the yolk from the whites and mix the egg whites in a bowl with the cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high until stiff peaks begin to form.
**This is when you will find out if you really have patience**
You will beat and beat and beat until you can hardly hold the mixer and you still may not see results. I can't even give you an accurate timeframe of how long it will take for the stiff peaks to form. Let's just say, don't attempt this recipe when you're pinched for time.
Note: If there is ANY trace of yolk mixed in with the whites, you will not get those highly-covetted stiff peaks.
Step 3: Slowly (1 teaspoon at a time) beat in all of the sugar until your mixture is stiff and glossy.
Step 4: Gently fold in your food dye and place your mixture into a pastry bag.
Step 5: Step 5 is piping your meringue onto the cookie sheet in a pumpkin form. This is where the recipe lost me. While my peaks were stiff and my meringue was holding, I had no idea how to pipe it into the form of a pumpkin.
Step 6: Bake your cookies for 40 minutes. Once the 40 minutes is up, turn off your oven, but LEAVE IN your meringue for another hour.
Some of you may be thinking "Hey Amy, your meringue came out looking not so pumpkin-like, can you eat them at least?"and the short answer is yes. Long answer? I personally put meringue I the same category as fondant: edible for all, enjoyable for few.
In order to jazz these up a bit and avoid having the cookies look like orange-brown blobs, I decided to use them as a cake topper. I grabbed the closest My Grandma's Pumpkin Spice coffee cake and some cream cheese frosting and went to work.
All in all, if someone can show me how to make a pumpkin out of meringue, I'll show you a pretty sweet cake topper.