Speculaas meringue pie

Speculaas meringue pie

 

I think I’m done with winter. Or the lack of a proper one anyway. You know, the kind with freezing temperatures and snow that lasts more than a couple of days. I’ve started to replace the candles in our house with fresh flowers, mostly tulips. I let my daughter pick a bunch the other day and she went for a multicoloured bouquet and called them “her rainbow tulips”.

Next week is Valentine’s Day and last year I made these yummy truffles at the very last minute because we hadn’t planned anything. Plus, we’re never sure how to celebrate because P. has his birthday 2 days later. The trend in our house seems to be to keep Valentine’s simple (think sofa, movie, snacks) and then P.’s birthday gets a bit more attention (family breakfast, cake, babysitter, dining out).

Tulip in full bloom

This Speculaas meringue pie also seems to be a trend because I’m pretty sure I made it for his birthday last year. The base is crunchy and caramely. The filling creamy and full of vanilla. The top is his favourite: meringue, in any shape or form. I’ve made this with a french meringue before but this year I wanted to try Swiss meringue. Either way, the result is delicious and the pie will be gone before you know it (which is a good thing because it doesn’t do so well in the fridge). You can easily half this recipe and make a smaller version to share with your loved one if you’re celebrating Valentine’s this Sunday.

What’s the best thing your loved one has ever baked or cooked for you in an effort to impress? Did it work? Were you impressed?

Speculaas meringue pie up close

 Speculaas meringue pie

(serves 8)

Ingredients:

For the base:

200g speculaas cookies (biscoff)

80g butter

For the filling:

500ml milk

50g flour

100g sugar

2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg

seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod

For the meringue:

2 egg whites

80g sugar

Method:

  1. Make the pie crust first.  Put the cookies in a food processor and whizz until you are left with fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor you can put the cookies in a large freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. It’s important to not have any big cookie lumps left.
  2. Now, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add the butter to the cookie crumbs and mix thoroughly. Press the mixture into a springform or loose bottomed pie dish. Make sure the base is level (it doesn’t need to go up the sides) and use the back of a spoon to really press down the crumb mixture. You don’t need to bother greasing the tin/dish. Place the crust in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  3. Now, make the filling, which is a basic crème patisserie. In a bowl mix together the egg, egg yolks and sugar. You can do this in a standmixer or using a handmixer. The mixture needs to double in volume, become thick and turn a pale beige. This can take up to 10 minutes. Sift in the flour, add the vanilla seeds and mix for another minute or 2. In the meantime, heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat until nearly boiling.
  4. Once the milk is hot, slowly add it to the egg-sugar mixture and mix on a very slow speed. Once everything has mixed, pour the contents of your bowl into the saucepan you just used and return to the heat. Use a simple whisk to gently whisk the mixture as it heats up and thickens. This can take 10 minutes or longer depending on your hob. When the mixture is thick enough, pour it into a heatproof bowl and cover the actual crème (not the bowl) with clingfilm and let it cool completely.
  5. When the crème has cooled, it’s time to make the meringue. If you want to make a french meringue, use this method and make the circle slightly smaller than your crust size. For the Swiss meringue, mix the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl using a handmixer until just combined.
  6. Fill a saucepan with about 3 cm of water and heat until it simmers. Then, place the bowl with the egg whites and sugar on top and use your electric handmixer to continue whipping the mixture. The heat from the simmering water will melt the sugar and once this is done and your egg whites have formed stiff peaks, take the bowl off the pan. Continue to whip with your handmixer until the meringue is stiff and glossy and back to room temperature.
  7. It’s time to assemble the pie. Take the crust out of the fridge. Spoon or pipe the crème patisserie on top to about half a cm from the crust edge. Then pipe the meringue on top and use a knife to create some texture if you like.
  8. If you have a blow torch in your kitchen, you can use it to give the tops of the meringue some colour. I stuck the pie under the grill for a minute or two. Or, you can leave the meringue as it is.
  9. Carefully, remove the pie from the tin and serve the same day. This pie does not keep well in the fridge.

ENJOY!!

Blooming tulip

 

Macarons with pineapple curd

Macarons with pineapple curd with blue and yellow background

Fact is that we all have a mother. She may have carried you lovingly in her stomach for 9 months or she may have had to rely on another woman to do this. Maybe, you were raised by an aunt, a grandmother, a sister. Maybe, come Mother’s Day you won’t have good memories of your own mom. Maybe, you’re a mother yourself and you’re looking forward to Sunday when your role in the lives of your children will get some extra attention. Or maybe, your mother’s day will be spent alone because of some event in your life meaning your children are currently not with you. Whatever the situation, whatever the past, this Sunday it’s time to celebrate the woman or women in your life that loved you and helped you become the fabulous person you are now.

Yellow peony on blue background

I’m a mother. I have been for the past 4 years and there are days I love it. And there are days I hate it. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve got this parent thing down. I see my kids play nicely together, they are happy, they sleep like angels and shower me with cuddles and kisses. More often than not though, the reality is that they fight, wake several times during the night (blanket fell off, midnight trip to the bathroom,etc.), refuse to get dressed and ignore my instructions to tidy up (this usually goes hand in hand with a blank stare of indifference to the situation that is an explosion of Duplo Lego blocks).

Ball of string

When do you get it? When do you figure this motherhood thing out? When does it get easier? The more time passes the more convinced I am that the answer is “No one knows”. And that is a hard fact to accept for someone like me. I like to know what I’m doing. I like to get it right. But I have to admit that as time goes by I am starting to accept that I will never be the perfect mother because there is no such thing. It just doesn’t exist. As long as I’m doing a good job 90% of the time I think we’ll be OK. And as long as I do exactly what it is I need to do for my kids, I think we’ll be OK.

Macarons with pineapple curd on a blue background with yellow peony

My own mother lives 800km away from me. She lives in Belgium, I live in Germany. We haven’t lived in the same country for 11 years. But she’s always got my back. She’s honest and understanding. She’s also one of the strongest women I know. I admire her. I love her. And I hope my kids will think the same of me when they are older. In the mean time, I will happily settle for a snot-covered kiss while being “treated” by doctor S. and Doctor K. by means of hammering IKEA toy bolts into my poorly tummy (because that’s how you treat stomach ache apparently).

macarons on blue background with yellow peony

Macarons with pineapple curd filling

(approx, 20 macarons)

Ingredients for the macarons:

110 finely ground almonds

160g powdered sugar

60g sugar

3 egg whites

Ingredients for the pineapple curd:

250ml pineapple puree, strained

100g sugar

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp corn starch

2 tbsp butter

Method:

1. First make the curd so it has time to cool. Mix all the ingredients, except the butter, in saucepan with a whisk. Then heat the mixture on a low-medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Remove the curd from the heat and add the butter. Stir until all the butter is melted and incorporated. Leave to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

3. Use a foodprocessor to mix the ground almond and powdered sugar until it is really fine. Then sift the mixture.

4. Mix the egg whites and sugar in a glass bowl. Place the bowl on a saucepan with a couple of cm of water in it. Place over a medium heat. Don’t let the water boil!

5. Stir the mixture constantly as you use a thermometer to check the mixture heating up to 55 degrees C. When it reaches 55 degrees C, transfer the mixture to a standmixer with whisk (or use a handmixer) and whip it on a high seeing until you get a soft meringue.

6. Add half of the almond-powders sugar mixture and fold it in. Then add the other half and fold it all in so no lumps remain.

7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.

8. On a lined baking tray, pipe small circles about 5cm in diameter.

9. Carefully, tap the baking tray on your working surface. This will get rid of any bubbles and spread the circles out a bit.

10. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

11. Leave to cool.

12. Use a piping bag or teaspoon to fill the macarons with the pineapple curd.

macarons with pineapple curd

My macarons aren’t perfect. But then neither is being a mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Enjoy!

Lemon and raspberry meringue pie

lemon raspberry meringue pie with chocolate decoration

Let’s talk about inspiration for a minute. Where do you get yours? Are you a Pinterest addict with one too many pins on white-grey living room deco? Or do you search books and magazines for quotes that will help you achieve a goal when you need a little bit of extra oomph? You can find inspiration anywhere. You don’t even have to look that hard. Just look around you. If you already knew this it’s worth taking the time to really emphasise it. If not by yourself, by some complete stranger (which is what happened to me…).

lemons raspberries yellow flowers

Last weekend I attended the Hive, a gathering of digital storytellers, tastemakers and bloggers. I am still new to blogging so I have lots of moments where I think to myself: Am I good enough? Am I different enough to stand out? Am I sharing something worthwhile? And here’s the answer: yes, yes, YES! I listened to some very inspirational people. I absolutely loved the fabulous woman behind My Scandinavian Home who reminded us that we are all unique and we need to “be your own kind of beautiful”. I was also very much taken by Chelsea who is the beautiful brains behind Frolic!. She emphasised the importance of being happy in what you do and to know that you will never be able to please everyone. I also had the privilege to watch and listen to Dietlind Wolf who is the most amazing woman. Her styling and photographs are something so beautiful I can’t pull myself away from her blog.

yellow flowers white vase

Where is this leading?

While you, my dearest reader, have been reading this blogpost in search of a lemon and raspberry meringue pie, I’ve had the opportunity to be that complete stranger who has just reminded you of how brilliant, unique and full of inspiration you are.

close up raspberries lemon curd

And now go and make this fabulous pie!

 

Lemon and raspberry meringue pie

Inspired by the Hive’s yellow and pink colour theme

(Serves 8)

For the meringue:

3 egg whites

170g sugar

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

For the lemon curd:

3 egg yolks

60ml fresh lemon juice, strained to remove any pits or pulp (about 2 small lemons)

6 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp cold butter in cubes

For the finishing touches:

250g fresh raspberries

Method:

Start by making the meringue. It takes a while so if you prefer a dry meringue you’ll need to start a good while before you plan to eat the pie. You can make the meringue the night before and let it cool in the oven overnight. Or make it in the morning and leave it to cool in the oven during the day if you plan to eat it in the evening. If you prefer a wet meringue you’ll only need to plan for 2-3 hours total time from start to finish (most of that is the meringue baking so you won’t be in the kitchen for 2-3 hours straight).

1. Preheat your oven to 100 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and mark a circle the size of a plate.

2.In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer) whip the egg whites until very soft peaks form. Then add the sugar a tablespoon at the time. Make sure you leave some time in between spoonfuls so the sugar has time to “dissolve”. The meringue is done when you can’t feel anymore sugar grains when you rub some of the mixture between your fingers. And when it is stiff and glossy.

3. Using a piping bag, spoon or spatula, shape the meringue into a thin circle as marked on your baking paper (about 2-3cm/1 inch thick). Smooth out the top. You want it to look like a disk.

4. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Then take out the meringue and let it cool on a wire rack. When cool, carefully peel off the baking paper. Or turn off the oven and leave to cool inside as mentioned above.

Make the lemon curd while the meringue is baking. You can let it cool and store for later. 

1. In a saucepan on medium-low heat, mix the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice. Keep whisking as it heats up and simmers.

2. Whisk as the curd simmers and thickens. Depending on your hob, this will take between 10-15minutes.

3. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter until melted.

4. Pour the curd in a clean jar and let it cool. It will thicken even more as it gets colder. Close the jar and put it in the fridge until you need it. But remember to take it out leaving enough time to let it adjust to room temperature.

Putting it all together:

Put the meringue on a flat plate or cake stand. Spoon on the lemon curd and spread it out. Don’t go all the way to the edge. Then place the raspberries on top.

lemon raspberry meringue pie with chocolate decoration top view

This is not just any lemon and raspberry meringue pie, it’s my Hive lemon and raspberry meringue pie. Let me know what you think. Does it look good? Did it meet your sweetness needs?

Meringue lemon curd raspberry pie

ENJOY!

chocolate Hive 15 decoration

Chocolate Hive15

yellow flower

Yellow

lemon raspberry meringue pie photo shoot set

In the end, this is real life.

Liquorice meringues

Let’s step away from the conventional. Let’s try something different. Let’s be brave and discover new things.

Liquorice meringues

Liquorice meringues

 

In our house there are the pro-liquorice people (P. and my daughter S.) and the not-so-pro liquorice person (me). K. is too small so his verdict is still out. I hope he teams up with me…

P. is from Sweden and it seems that these Nordic people have a thing for the black stuff. Sweet, salty or super salty. With ice-cream or chocolate or just plain and simple, straight out of the bag. I have tried it but I’m afraid I will be keeping my love affair with these gems to lightly tasting it on P.’s lips when I kiss him goodnight (he likes to eat it in bed when reading a good book).

Liquorice meringues

Liquorice meringues

 

P. is also a big fan of meringues, in any shape or form. If it’s been whipped to stiff peaks and baked nice and slowly to reveal a paper thin, crunchy top, he’ll be eating it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the other mealtimes that haven’t been invented yet.

This is my ode to my husband-to-be: liquorice meringues (they were gone within 24 hours). Try it and see if you are team pro or team not-so-pro.

Liquorice meringues

Liquorice meringues

 

 Liquorice meringues

(makes about 10, depending on the size of meringues you make)

2 egg whites

100gr sugar

2 tsp liquorice powder

optional: 1/4 tsp black food colouring

Method:

Preheat the oven to 130degrees C

In a clean, glass or stainless steel bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric handmixer until soft peaks from. You can also use a standmixer with the whisk attached.

Add the sugar a tbsp at a time. Makes sure the sugar dissolves between each addition. You can check this by putting some egg white between your thumb and index finger and rubbing them together. If you feel the grains, whip some more.

Whisk until all the sugar is incorporated and you have stiff, shiny peaks.

Gently fold in the liquorice powder.

If using food colouring, stir the teaspoon through the meringue mixtures a couple of times to get a marbled effect.

Spoon the mixture in a piping bag or a large freezer bag of which you have snipped off a corner.

Pipe meringues on a lined baking tray. Any shape is fine, be creative.

Baked for 50-60 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Liquorice meringues

Liquorice meringues