Friday, March 7, 2008

Tiny meringues make me warm all over

Happy birthday to me!

Gosh, another year older. What they don't tell you is that after twenty-one, all the rest of the birthdays (at least, for a while) are met with baited breath. Will something break this year? How many more gray hairs will develop under the guise of wisdom?

I have no use of a cake this year. It's too big! I'm also leaving the digs for a while tomorrow, so the cake would have to be consumed all at once or not at all. I'm pretty sure my school friends are either
a) sleeping,
b) geeking out,
c) inebriated.

So that's a no-go for a birthday party. All's good, though. Mr. O surprised me at lunch and we had a nice (quick) time together. But what to do for a celebratory, sugary substitute for the usual cake?

After making all that creme patisserie last week, I had a plethora of egg whites and a plenitude of vanilla beans. And cinnamon. Darn it, I love cinnamon. It's a bit unhealthy, really. If not for cooking for others, I'm pretty sure all my recipes would have a dash of cinnamon in them (most already do).

I made cinnamon-vanilla meringues. Now, understand, my area of the world this week has experienced freak snowstorms and wind that would blow out a thousand birthday cakes. I decided to make the meringues yesterday, which meant that my egg whites (all four? five? of them) mixed for about twenty minutes and never got halfway above the pan. It also took about two hours for them to cook, and even then they were still very soft when touched. In a moment of impatience (I had to get to class, darnit!) I cranked the oven up to 300. Oops. They got a little brown and done, but they tasted fine just the same.

This morning, I made a parfait with some more creme patisserie and frozen cherries for breakfast, mixed with some of the crushed meringues. Yum!

recipe & directions from 101 Cookbooks, with vanilla bean & cinnamon added at the same time as the sugar.

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