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A smashing dessert.

A smashing dessert

You make a beautiful bowl of caramelized sugar ... then shatter it

Startle and delight guests when you break the shimmery-looking bowl pictured here. It may appear to be Venetian glass, but in reality it's edible caramelized sugar. Use it as a container to present the classic dessert, floating islands. The bowl holds soft oven-poached meringues (the islands). You "float" the meringues in individual dishes with custard sauce, then shatter the caramelized bowl into small shards for a crackly sweet topping to sprinkle over the white puffs. The caramelized sugar bowl is surprisingly easy to make. You heat sugar until it melts and turns a rich amber, then pour the resulting syrup into a foil-lined pizza pan. As it begins to firm, invert the warm round over a bowl to mold it. Once cool, the bowl holds its shape for several days, if it is kept airtight. The meringues and custard can be made a day ahead.

Floating Islands in a Caramelized Sugar Crystal Bowl
6 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar


1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 3 1/3 cups milk
3 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


Caramelized sugar bowl (recipe
 follows)
1 cup sliced strawberries


In a small bowl, whisk yolks to blend with 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla. In the top of a double boiler over medium-high heat, bring milk to scalding. Whisk about 1/2 cup milk into egg mixture, then return mixture to pan. Place pan over barely simmering water and stir often until custard coats a metal spoon in a smooth, opaque layer, 15 to 20 minutes. At once, set pan with custard into ice water; stir until cool. Stir in liqueur. Pour custard into a pitcher. Cover and chill until cold, about 1 hour or up until next day In a large bowl, combine reserved egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating until whites hold soft, shiny peaks. Fill a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan with about 3/4 inch boiling water. From a large spoon, drop egg-white mixture into water in 8 to 10 equal-size scoops; do not overlap. Carefully transfer pan to a 350 [degrees] oven; bake, uncovered, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer cooked meringues to a wire rack to drain and cool. Lift rack and use a paper towel to blot remaining moisture from meringue bottoms. If made ahead, cover and chill up until next day. To present, mound meringues in sugar bowl and top with berries. At the table, spoon meringues and berries into individual bowls, adding custard sauce. Using a large spoon, crack sugar bowl into small pieces; sprinkle a few fragments over each meringue. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Per serving with 1 tablespoon sugar bowl: 233 cal.; 6.5 g protein; 8.1 g fat; 33 g carbo.; 102 mg sodium; 145 mg chol.

Caramelized sugar bowl. Have at hand 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Smoothly line a 14-inch pizza pan with foil; brush foil with 1/2 the butter. Set pan in a 200 [degrees] oven to keep warm. Also invert a 4- to 8-inch-tall bowl with a flat bottom that measures 2 to 4 inches across onto a foil-covered, 14-inch pizza pan or a 10- by 15-inch baking pan. Brush outside of bowl with remaining butter; put in oven. Pour 1 1/2 cups sugar into a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan and set over medium-high heat. Cook, shaking pan often, until most of the sugar liquefies. Reduce heat to medium to medium-low; shake pan often until all sugar melts and turns amber-colored, 30 to 45 minutes total. At once, pour and scrape caramelized syrup into warm, foil-lined pan; quickly tilt to spread syrup as thinly as possible. As syrup begins to set, use a buttered spatula to pull it gently and evenly out from edges to make it thinner (no need, though, to fill pan or have round edges). Let syrup stand until it's firm when pan is tilted but still pliable and warm, 3 to 4 minutes. (If caramel gets rigid before you are able to mold it, place in oven until pliable, 5 to 10 minutes.) Lift foil from pan and invert caramel over bottom of warm bowl. With potholder-protected hands, immediately press sides of caramel loosely around bowl (if you press after caramel is cool, it will crack). When cool enough to touch but still slightly pliable, 2 to 4 minutes, peel off foil and gently loosen sugar bowl from sides of mold. Let cool on mold until firm, about 5 minutes. Gently remove sugar bowl from mold. Use, or wrap airtight up to 3 days. Makes 1 bowl.

PHOTO : Cook sugar, shaking pan often, until it melts and forms an amber-colored syrup

PHOTO : Pour hot caramelized syrup into a warm, well-buttered, foil-lined pizza pan

PHOTO : Tilt pan to spread syrup. As it begins to set but is still hot, thin out with spatula

PHOTO : Loosely mold warm caramel over warm buttered bowl to shape

PHOTO : Serve oven-poached meringues with fresh strawberries in glassy "bowl" of caramelized sugar

PHOTO : Duck for cover as brittle caramel bowl gets cracked; its shards top meringues in custard
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1990
Words:887
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