In the same breath as Buche de Noel, I must talk about my love of little French meringue mushrooms. These speak to my whimsical side, and they are also sweet and also natural; even if you hate any kind of funghi, I guarantee you will love these, which are part of the traditional garnish for a Buche de Noel cake~
The recipe is very simple:
Preheat oven to 225 degrees (F).
In the Mixmaster bowl add the following:
1/2 cup egg whites
1 cup sugar (I use the fine "baking sugar")
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla (I use less)
Add a handful more sugar, for a thicker meringue. Beat on high speed til you get a very stiff meringue. Fill a pastry sleeve fitted with a wide circle attachment. Pipe in two sets onto a silpat or wax paper:
The bases can be fat and short or tall and skinny or whatever shape you like; I like tall bases so mine look like this; they should look like Hershey's kisses no matter how tall~
Pipe the tops separately, into various rounds. Make different sizes for contrast.
Using a bowl of very hot water, dip your finger in the hot water then pat down the tip of the meringue, to round off the tops, like a mushroom cap~
Bake for about an hour; slow is better, and don't overcook or they will become a little tanned; meringue doesn't really have to bake it has to dry out~
Remove from the silpat or wax paper; I use a flat icing spatula; using a knife tip or wooden skewer tip, make a small hole in the bottom of the cap top~
Here you can use royal icing, more meringue, or chocolate or even glue (if not edible, be SURE to note, which is why I do not use glue!), I use melted chocolate; heat the chocolate over warm water; you need a small amount; brush onto the cap and fill in the hole~
pair the cap up with a base that is suitable~
dust with cocoa powder; I use coco powder and powdered sugar because I think the coco alone looks kinda dirty and I prefer a fairytale look like this~
These can be used for garnish, for fun, for dessert poppers (which is why I never use glue on them, they will all be eaten or taken home I guarantee) and for the buche de Noel cake. I decided to use them in my holiday decor......
I took Honey & Biscuit to my fav tree place on Sunday night, and they had ALL KINDS of rounds of tree base slices on the ground; here at bottom left~
Last summer, I took these pics; the name marker come from Grand Bernard in Switzerland; the man there will make up the signs you need within a week. Shame no one here makes this kind of saucisson sec; but this vendor and his wife are in the Saturday market in Beaune as well as Monday in Louhan; these signs are perfect for their booth. Anyway, we had long talk of Switzerland and these wood signs~
I took the wood slices I found at the Christmas tree place and decided to make a folly out of them. I picked a few pieces of rosemary in the dark, brush of modge podge and roll in sugar; glue gun into a sheet of moss and glue that onto the wood slice~
In the foreground, brush with modge podge and add in the meringue mushrooms and the lone deer left; the salt and sugar leftover from the candles finish the front. A few vintage shiny-brites finish the look. It makes a cute round and I will use them maybe for placecards, maybe on the drinks table.
My nieces will be home this week and I will get them busy helping me; they love the creative exercise and can take this and make it their own; Christmas fun!!!