Today has been a veritable whirlwind in this house. We’re preparing for a party on Saturday so today my FABULOUS In-Laws came over to help. Together we moved furniture, reorganized rooms and they even fed babies when I ran to the gym and grocery store.
Before and after I was busy busy busy. I made Striped Meringues, Chocolate-Dipped Meringues (which I will now name Chocolate Dipped Clouds of Joy. Too wordy? Hmmm. Maybe I’ll call them Magic Meringues – because all of a sudden 3 more have disappeared into my mouth!), and for dinner I made Pasta with Roasted Persimmons in a Blue Cheese Sauce.
C’s a little pissed that I didn’t make enough for him to have some too.
To be fair, I thought he’d be working late, so I only made enough for me.
Noooooooo! I did NOT eat his portion. I stick my tongue out at you.
I digress. The idea for the pasta+fruit+blue cheese came from a podcast I heard. I’m kind of addicted to Good Food on NPR and every week they visit their local farmer’s market, where they talk with chefs and farmers. It’s pretty awesome. This one episode this one chef talked about cooking his persimmons, tossing the caramelized fruit with chestnuts and serving over a burrata (*swoon*). I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking about this recipe, like, ever since. This is a take on his caramelized fruit – well, after I googled ‘Roast Persimmons’, which led to this site. God Bless Google. So the pasta dish is a confabulation of like 6 different ideas – plus my own little head.
The meringue recipe came from Tyler Florence – as did the dipping in chocolate idea. The Stripey bit comes from Martha Stewart. She’s so annoying – she makes everything look so pretty and achievable!! *shaking my metaphorical fist*
Recipes. Here you go:
Dairy-Free…Well, it could be if you use the right chocolate. *grin*
4 Large Egg Whites **He suggests them being at room temp. I tried one batch at room temp and one cold from the fridge. I found that the batch from the fridge whipped up much more than the room temp ones. Huh.
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 cup plus 2 Tablepoons of Superfine Granulated Sugar **I don’t bother buying this stuff. I just chuck a little more than necessary in a food processor and pulse for a minute or two until it’s all ground fine.
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract **I suppose you can swap this out for any extract you want.
Gel-paste Food Coloring **I used orange.
1 1/2 cups chocolate **I used pink Candy Melts. Just because.
1- Oven to 225º. Line 3 or 4 baking sheets with parchment paper – don’t bother with a silpat. Meringues stick to them and it’s a b*tch to pry them off.
2- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on low-medium speed with the whisk attachment until the whites become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and turn speed up to medium, beating until just fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, so it incorporates into the whites slowly without collapsing them. Once all the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and increase the speed to high, whisking until the meringue is firm and glossy, about 5 to 7 minutes. **I learned from the Joy of Baking (my standard Meringue Recipe can be found here) that the meringue is done when you rub your fingers together and they don’t feel gritty.
3- MARTHA STEWART MOMENT AHEAD: Take your piping bag (I use a ziploc with a corner cut off and a pastry tip pushed through) and paint two thick stripes of the gel-paste food coloring along the insides.
4- Now place meringue mixture into the piping bag. Pipe 24 bite-sized “kiss”-shaped meringues onto the trays and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour undisturbed then turn off heat and leave in the oven overnight to really dry out. **I made all different sized meringues, generally opting for small ones. I think they’re cuter. Oh, and I don’t bother to leave them in the oven overnight. YAWN. Seriously? Ha. I don’t have that kind of kitchen. I’ll leave them to cool on a rack for a few hours. Except for the ones I eat I mean.
Chocolate Dipped Joy/Magic Meringues
After completing the steps above, do the following step:
5- Melt chocolate over a double-boiler or in the microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Holding each meringue by the peak dip the bases in chocolate so the bottom half of the meringue is coated. Let any excess chocolate drop off before placing on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Allow to set at room temperature – do not put in the fridge. Once set, store in an airtight container. **The ones you don’t inhale.
Pasta with Roasted Persimmons in a Blue Cheese Sauce By me – actually, the Blue Cheese Sauce is a riff off a recipe I got here
4 ripe or close to ripe Persimmons **I used 1 Hachaya and 3 Fuyus
1/3 cup Heavy Cream **These measurements were enough for 1 large portion, but not quite enough for 2 people. If serving more than one, double or triple as needed!
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
Salt and pepper
2 ounces Blue Cheese, crumbled **I used the cheap stuff from the grocery store. SEE NOTE above about adding more if you’re feeding more than one person.
1- Peel your persimmons and chunk them. I sliced the fruit into large bits, but next time I’ll make them smaller chunks. Lay them out on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Shove the baking sheet into an oven and bake away. If you need them roasted quickly bake them at 400º for 8-10 minutes. If you have more time, try 300º for 20-30 minutes. Taste as you go to see if you think the fruit is roasted enough. Let the pan cool while you get everything else together. I happened to roast my fruit this morning and let them sit on the counter all day til I was ready to use them at dinner time. Feel free to ignore all those health violations.
2- Get a big pot of salted water boiling for your pasta.
3- In a small saucepan heat (over medium heat) the cream and seasonings. Once everything is nice and warm – not boiling – add the blue cheese and stir to melt. Once melted, taste and adjust the seasonings.
4- When the pasta is done cooking, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain the noodles. Either pour the sauce over the noodles or add the noodles to the sauce. Toss to coat. If needed, use reserved pasta water to help thin the sauce (go slow – add in 1/4 cup at a time. Or even less, like a Tablespoon at a time).
5- Add in the roasted persimmon chunks.