|I have better photos, but the baby monitor in the background perfectly represents my life these days!|
This book reminds me, time and time again, that I am really a very novice baker. My poor meringue layers. They were an absolute mess. The first time I made the meringue I didn't separate the eggs as nicely as I probably needed to (there was some yolk in my whites) and I tried substituting coconut sugar for white sugar. I'm not sure which was the bigger mistake (probably both!) but sometime between soft peaks and medium peaks, my whites turned into a soupy mess that could not be revived. I didn't want to waste them so I whisked them with the yolks (which luckily I had saved) and some milk and made a quick custard--which was really quite good--and then started over. The second time I separated my eggs more carefully, and used raw sugar. That seemed to do the trick. I had lovely glossy peaks, and a beautiful meringue. My rounds certainly didn't look professional when they went into the oven, but they didn't look bad either. When they came out of the oven they still looked beautiful. Then, I started trying to get them off of the sheet pans. It was impossible! I tried a big flexible spatula, several smaller spatulas, the open oven door trick, and each one looked worse than the last. None of my rounds remained the least bit round. I needed to make these in batches, so for the next batch I used what seemed like tons of butter and flour, hoping that it would help. It didn't! They still looked awful.
The good news? Layered with sweetened whipped cream (I used almond extract and a lot of vanilla extract instead of the rum) and fruit these didn't look too terrible, and they were absolutely delicious. I think the next time I won't worry so much about getting pretty rounds, but this is definitely a flavor combination that I'm going to repeat!