With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I would like to dedicate this dessert, Strawberry Meringue Whip with Macarons, to my Grandmother and Mother. I never knew my Grandmother, Eleanor, but she was born in the 1870’s in the United States and after awhile, she had to raise three boys on her own.
I often wonder what sort of sweets my Grandmother would have eaten in the late 1800’s as she was growing up. Did she have access to les Macarons? What about chocolate candy bars such as the Mars Bar or Kit Kat- sweet things that I (unfortunately) feasted on when I was a child?
Doing a little research, I found that with the industrialization of western society in the 1800’s, came the mass production of cakes, biscuits and jelly candies and people started to eat birthday cakes. Chocolate fudge was invented in the 1880’s and in 1903 came the ice cream cone.
Although some sources say that the macaron was invented in France in 1791, it appears that the modern version came about in the early 1900’s. So, I imagine my Grandmother would probably have eaten cakes and some sweet biscuits (cookies), noshed on some fudge, but probably wouldn’t have had a clue what macarons were. After all, I myself hadn’t heard of les macs until two years ago.
In any case, my Grandmother would have been subject to the rather rigid etiquette rules of the day. Here is a snippet taken from an etiquette book in the 1890’s, giving advice on how a hostess should treat her dinner guests:
“Do not leave the room during the evening. To see a hostess fidgeting, constantly going in and out, argues ill for her tact in arranging the house for company.” (To me that is sound advice even today!)
What sweets did my Mother eat in her day?
My Mother, Mildred, was born in 1904 and had the ‘flapper’ look in the 1920’s. She probably would have eaten lots of ice cream; in 1922 ice cream was sold in the street for the first time using tricycles outfitted with a box in the front and ice cream boomed in the 1930’s.Then she would have swooned over all the candy bars that started to be invented: the Milky Way in 1923, the Mars Bar in 1932 and the Kit Kat in 1935. But, no, she too would probably not have eaten a macaron or had my Strawberry Meringue Whip dessert. So that’s why I have dedicated this dessert to her and my Grandmother.
Non- Bake Strawberry Meringue Whip
This dessert uses a thick curd made with lemon juice, cream and egg yolks. You then make up an Italian meringue, beating egg whites until stiff and then gradually adding a hot sugar syrup to the egg whites.
This recipe is quite simple and does not require any oven baking. I’ve presented the dish two ways; one placing sliced strawberries around the inside of a pastry ring and then placing the filling in the middle of the ring (see photo at top of post). With the second presentation, the strawberries are placed in the middle of the batter, with strawberry coulis garnish surrounding the dessert.
I made the macarons that appear in the top photo, but I decided not to include the recipe this time; I’ll save that for another post.
- 100 ml lemon juice (juice from about 2 lemons)
- 125 grams caster sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 125 grams thick cream
- 30 grams flour
- 3 gelatin leaves (6 grams) soaked in water
- 6 egg whites
- 125 grams caster sugar
- 1 punnet fresh strawberries
- Heat the lemon juice and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then set aside.
- In separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cream together then add the flour. Combine until smooth.
- Now add the egg yolk/cream mixture to the lemon juice/sugar mixture in the saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk until the mixture thickens.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water then heat in a pan until they dissolve.
- Place 125 grams of sugar in a saucepan and add a little cold water to form a paste. Heat until the mixture just starts to boil and becomes like a syrup.
- Now beat 6 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites as you continue to beat.
- In a separate bowl, first add the Italian Meringue then gradually fold in the creamy Base Mixture. Be careful to not over-stir, the mixture should remain fluffy.
- Now add the dissolved gelatine leaves to the mixture and combine until smooth.
- Slice the strawberries into thin pieces. Place a pastry ring on a plate and line the inside of the ring with a single layer of the strawberry pieces. Pour the creamy batter into the pastry ring until it reaches the rim of the ring. Place in the fridge for at least two hours until the moulds are set.
- Remove from fridge and remove the pastry ring. Add several macarons on the side if you wish.
- For a different presentation, you can also fill the pastry ring half-way with the creamy batter, then add several layers of strawberries, then continue to fill the ring with the remaining batter. Garnish the plate with some strawberry coulis.