Having made egg custard earlier this week which in turn became ice cream, I was still left with several egg whites. Having recently moved some of my kitchen garden indoors in pots to extend the season, I have a number of herbs I wanted to use before I dry them. Limited to pear and cranberry without another trip to the market I decided to employ my lavender and ginger in this mission. —Sagegreen
egg whites, room temperature
vinegar, optional (pear infused if you have it)
corn starch, optional
minced lavender flowers, fresh or crumpled and dried, or just use 1 tbl. of lavender sugar
fresh pears, pared and thinly sliced
fresh grated ginger
sugared fresh cranberries, halved, or dried (or cherries)
lavender leaves, optional
splash of Poire Williams, Domaine de Canton, or St. Germain
Preferably in a copper bowl beat the egg whites with a mixer. Gradually add the castor sugar, one tablespoon at a time. When the peaks are getting stiff, pour in the optional vinegar; fold in the optional cornstarch if you want. Continue beating until peaks stiffen. Sprinkle in the ginger and lavender.
On a baking sheet line with parchment paper create 4 nests out of the stiff meringue. Bake in a 250 degree oven until the nests become lightly brown on top, about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let them sit there for several hours, even overnight until completely cooled.
After the meringue shells are ready, peel them from the parchment and plate them.
Whip the cream with splash of Poire Williams, Domaine de Canton, or St. Germain and dash of sugar to taste.
Layer the cream on top of each meringue nest. Next arrange the thin pear slices on top. At the center plant a clump of fresh ginger. Center a halved sugared cranberry on the ginger. Arrange the lavender leaves in a concentric pattern around the cranberry if you like. I like to create a flower with the fruits.
Let the flavors co-mingle for at least one hour, if not longer. Then serve and enjoy right away. Leftovers for breakfast are not very appealing with this dish, so please finish each portion while they are prime.