Merengue Nest with Custard and Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

We don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day, to pamper ourselves with a strawberry treat! This week we’re introducing to you an eclectic sauce, based on strawberries and balsamic vinegar, which fits perfectly sweet desserts, such as cheesecake and vanilla ice-cream, and which can enrich and characterise also savoury courses, such as roasted turkey breast or fillet of salmon, matched with mashed or boiled baby potatoes. Moreover, but not for last, we shouldn’t forget the positive effects of balsamic vinegar on silhouette (only 100 Kcal per 100 grammes), on digestion and on health, thanks to the high amount of antioxidants and minerals, contained inside.

Yesterday I was inspired by this sauce and I used it, to give a boost of freshness and sharpness to the meringue and the vanilla custard, obtaining a stunning sweet and sour combination in taste.

Strawberry Balsamic Merengue 1

Meringue Nest with Custard and Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients

that I used (for 4 people):

Preparation:

Wash the strawberries and cut the green leaf, then cut them into tiny cubes.

StrawberryBalsamicPavlova2

Strawberries

Let the butter melt in a pan and then add the strawberries cubes, gently stirring all together. Let it simmer for 1-2 minutes and then add the balsamic vinegar and simmer again. I suggest you taste the sauce after 3 spoons of vinegar, just to evaluate the acidity level, and to adjust the flavour, depending on your preferences. In a row, add the sugar and continue simmering until reduced. As before, check also for the sweetness: add one or two tablespoons more sugar as needed for a sweeter taste, or a touch more of Balsamic Vinegar for acidity. Stir it into the reduction and continue to cook. You can add the sugar also later during the preparation if you want.

StrawberryBalsamicPavlova3

When the sauce will be reduced, add 3 spoons of water and stir. Again, let it simmer until reduced. When the reduction will have obtained a consistency similar to a jam, turn off the heat and let it cool down.

This fantastic sauce is already done!

StrawberryBalsamicPavlova5

 

Concerning the meringue and the custard, probably some of you are already used to refer to his/her own secret family recipe. Anyway, we are going to share with you all our recipes, so have a look and check the potential differences!

Smart&Quick Italian Vanilla Custard

For the custard, I used a very useful recipe, which makes it possible to drop dramatically the time, usually needed to obtain the traditional velvety custard.

Ingredients:

  • 400 ml whole milk
  • 100 ml cream
  • 100 g yolks (5-6 eggs)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 20 g cornstarch
  • 20 g rice starch
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Preparation:

Whip the yolks with the sugar, using the electric whisks, for few minutes. Cut and scrape the vanilla bean and add the caviar to the mixture of eggs and sugar. Then add the corn- and rice starch, and keep whipping for few minutes again.

In the meanwhile, put the milk, the cream and the empty batch of vanilla all together in the same pot, and bring to the boil. At that point, eliminate the vanilla bean and pour the yolks mixture into the boiling milk. Without stirring, just wait for a minute and, as soon as the bubble appear also in the central zone, stir immediately and energetically the custard for few seconds with a whisk… unbelievable: the custard is already done! Turn off the heat and transfer the custard to a bowl and cover it with cling film, sticking it directly to the cream, to avoid any bloom, and put in the fridge, so as to cool down.

The Swiss Merengue is the easiest one!

Ingredients:

  • 200 g white sugar (100+100 g)
  • 200 g egg white
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation:

Whip together the egg whites and the first half of the sugar. Beforehand, add a pinch of salt to the egg whites, to maintain the whiteness of the meringue during the baking. When the whites will be strongly whipped, add the rest of the sugar, stirring with a scraper or a wooden spoon from the top down. Create your meringue nests with a sac-à-poche on a tin foil, and put them in the oven at 80 degrees for 3 hours and a half or more, paying attention to keep the oven door slightly open, tucking a fork in it. Done!

Enjoy your chic hand-made dessert! And remember: when the time is lacking, shortcuts for the meringue nests are definitely allowed!

 

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