by Lauren Mote
With one lonely canvas piping bag and a variety of patterned and flat piping tips, the possibilities are endless, especially for this “sugar enthusiast”. I find that cake decorating, using the set of 20 tips (i.e. star, horseshoe, etc.) available from your local restaurant supply store to be very 1980’s. Who really wants to make, eat or serve a cake that looks like you picked up for $12.99 in the Safeway or Dominion chilled dairy case? Not to mention the icing tastes a little like plastic bags. Here are some fool-proof recipes to kick-start the creativity in the right hemisphere of your brain, accompanied by your hyper-functional tastebuds for optimal success!
Phase 1 – Meringue
Makes 4 cups of silky meringue
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar, superfine (through into a food processor for 60 seconds)
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Whip egg whites for 3 minutes on high speed, with salt and cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar while beating egg whites, one tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla extract and whip until the stiff peak stage.
Pipe individually into rounds, on parchment paper. Bake for 2 hours, then shut off oven, let dry out for 60 minutes more.
Store in airtight container for a couple of days.
Use for individual pavlova, snacks, or mix in chocolate chips before piping rounds for a delicious treat.
Phase 2 – Everyday piping, in everyday life
Introducing the savory purée
Carrot, Potato, Cauliflower, Parsnip, Beetroot, Celeriac, etc…
Blanch pieces of the vegetable or starch in question, in either salted water or cream. Cook until tender. Cool, and add to food processor, as well as warmed cream, butter, aromatics and seasonings. Pass through a fine mesh-strainer (optional). Place in piping bag, and pipe away!!!!! (You can even pipe directly into hot (deep-fry temperature) oil, and remove once floating. Piping is really neat. Try deviled eggs too, that’s retro.