We hosted our first online cooking class in December. For the first time the Virtual Dinner Party was able to bake together as a group in real time through the magic of Zoom. I have to confess, there was a steep learning curve for me. The internet time lag and impersonal nature of zooming was a bit weird, but attendees cheerily persevered through my missteps. They took it in stride that I forgot to mention what mixer attachment to use when making a meringue, and they totally had my back when I left them unattended to search my cupboards for ingredients I had forgotten to set out. But even with the glitches, I am extremely thankful for the experience. Zooming is no substitute for face to face gathering, but in these very unusual times, it was miraculous to be able spend time with our community of chefs and diners for just one night. For me the best part was the spirited text volley between participants that occurred after the class. I am smiling still at how our group continued to inspire and share their creativity with one another.
For the class we prepared a Holiday Meringue Cake with Chocolate and Rosemary. Sheree Giesenhaggen and Christy Lueders turned out stunning creations while John Reed provided very insightful and spot on baking recommendations. His thoughtful contribution solved the uneven baking conundrum for the group. In order to ring in the New Year with style, Katy Petersen and Colette Szczensy held off on assembling their cakes until the 31st. I am certain champagne was the perfect accompaniment to complement their handiwork. And, always delightful Kristin and John Hunt were there too, cheering the group on with their humor and good spirits. It truly was a party!
Please know how grateful I am for the opportunity to continue to cook with you. The activity and your participation continue to boost my spirits. I know that no amount of cooking will fill the void of missing actual contact with our community, but I do hope that this activity and these recipes will help build a bridge to connect us in some way.
All good things to you and yours in 2021 – Victoria
If you were unable to make it to the class, I encourage you to try the recipe.
HOLIDAY MERINGUE CAKE WITH ORANGE, CHOCOLATE AND ROSEMARY
6 ea egg whites
1 ¼ C granulated sugar, divided
1 T cornstarch
splash white wine vinegar
2 T rosemary leaves
1 ea orange zest
2 T confectioners’ sugar
2 C heavy whipping cream
¼ C sour cream
1 ea high quality bittersweet chocolate bar (such as Lindt)
Fresh rosemary, for garnish
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Prepare rosemary orange sugar: Combine ¼ granulated sugar, rosemary leaves, and orange zest in food processor. Process vigorously until rosemary and orange are finely chopped and combined well with sugar. Set aside.
Prepare baking sheets: On a sheet of parchment paper, draw three 8” circles. I use a salad plate as a guide and trace around it with a pencil. Place parchment on a baking sheet and set aside.
Prepare cake: Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on medium low speed until foamy (about 1 minute). Increase speed to medium high and slowly add the remaining 1 C sugar. Continue whipping until eggs become soft and fluffy. Gently sift cornstarch over meringue and mix gently. Fold in vinegar and 3T of rosemary orange sugar.