When I received this book, I hugged it. I owe an extraordinary debt of gratitude to Joanne Chang. Her books have guided me through multiple baking exploits.
To uninformed first-timers, she is a James Beard award-winning baker best known for her eight acclaimed Flour bakeries in Boston. Chang has published two books based on the offerings at Flour, such as her famous sticky buns, but Pastry Love is her most personal and comprehensive book yet.
It includes 125 dessert recipes for many things she could never serve in the setting of a bakery—for example, items that are best served warm or with whipped cream on top. Nothing makes Chang happier than baking and sharing treats with others, and that passion comes through in every recipe, such as Strawberry Slab Pie, Mocha Chip Cookies, and Malted Chocolate Cake. The recipes start off easy such as Lemon Sugar Cookies and build up to showstoppers like Passion Fruit Crepe Cake.
Joanne Chang is a gifted raconteuse. She revels in the details. Her books are disciplined and have a necessary efficiency. She is unashamed in her pursuit of baking excellence.
Pastry Love includes master lessons and essential techniques for making pastry cream, lemon curd, puff pastry, and more, all of which make this book a must-have for beginners and expert home bakers alike.
Raspberry Swirl Meringues
Makes 8 Meringues
I had never thought to put fruit into a meringue cookie until I visited Ottolenghi in London and was blown away by their gorgeous raspberry meringues. At this iconic bakery, piles of meringues sprayed with raspberry sauce is the focal point of their pastry counter. Back in Boston we tried to replicate these beauties and came upon a different way of incorporating the raspberry flavour. Instead of spraying the sauce (called a coulis) we swirled it in with . . . chopsticks. Chopsticks are the ideal tool for making deep divots in the meringue and then swirling the coulis in a spiral throughout the meringue. This makes a stunning cookie that is light and fruity and truly unique. We sometimes add shaved bittersweet chocolate to the meringue for a decadent variation.
Raspberry Coulis (recipe below)
1 cup/120 grams confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 large egg whites (about 1 cup/240 grams), at room temperature
1 cup/200 grams superfine sugar
About 3 ounces/85 grams bittersweet chocolate, finely shaved (1/2 cup; optional)
Make the raspberry coulis and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 175°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it liberally with pan spray. Set it aside.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar and salt into a small bowl together and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until the wires of the whisk leave a slight trail in the whites, 3 to 4 minutes.
With the mixer on medium, add the superfine sugar in three increments, whipping for about 1 minute between additions. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. The meringue should be glossy and stiff and look a bit like soft Cool Whip or shaving cream. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the confectioners’ sugar and the chocolate, if you are using it. The meringue will soften up a bit with the sugar folded in.
Use a 1/2-cup ice cream scoop, large soup ladle, or 1/2-cup measuring cup to spoon out baseball-size mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. You should get about 8 meringue mounds. Use a small teaspoon to make a divot in the center of each mound and fill with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the coulis.
This next part is tricky. You are going to use a pair of chopsticks held together or a slender spoon handle to swirl the coulis around into the meringue. Start by pointing the chopsticks at a 45-degree angle, not straight up and down, into the well of coulis. Scoop just underneath the coulis, lift the chopsticks through the meringue, and pull up and swirl one-and-a-half swirls through the meringue in a circular motion, starting with a small circle and moving outward. Pull the chopsticks out of the meringue and repeat, starting from the center and swirling outward but this time in the opposite direction. Don’t press the meringue down too much while you’re doing this, or you’ll flatten it out and won’t get a nice billowy cloud. It’s tempting to keep swirling the coulis, but then you’ll end up with a faded pink meringue and not a distinct white and- fuchsia swirl. Also try to avoid letting the coulis run down the sides and onto the parchment, or it will settle underneath the meringue while baking and oxidize into an off-putting purple-green colour. Repeat with the remaining 7 meringues.
Bake for about 4 hours, until the meringues are firm to the touch. Turn off the oven, crack the oven door open, and let the meringues dry out for at least 8 hours or up to overnight before serving.
The meringues can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
MAKES 1/4 CUP
3/4 cup/95 grams fresh or frozen raspberries
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Combine the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor and process on low speed until it becomes liquid. Strain the coulis through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the seeds. Refrigerate the coulis for at least 1 hour to chill.
Coulis can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.