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Ms. Elaine Kneeous

Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.

Culinary yes-yes #64

When I hosted my Cocoa & Cookies party for friends this past Christmas season, one of the treats I made were Meringue Kisses.  I did this specifically because one guest has a gluten intolerance; otherwise I never in a million years would have considered making them.  Why?  Because I suffer from meringue phobia.  Ask Kevin – I’ve never made a lemon meringue pie, Schaum Torte, Pavlova (Shaum’s big cousin) or macarons.  The basics to meringue are simple… egg whites, superfine sugar, cream of tartar, and a touch of flavoring from extract or liqueur.  But the technique can be intimidating.  Your egg whites must be completely free of yolk; your bowl must be scrupulously clean – not a trace of oil or fat anywhere.  If you don’t plan ahead and bring the whites to room temperature you’re not going to get the biggest & best volume from them.  With the exception of the above-mentioned pie, all the others must dry for several hours before they can even be removed from the oven.  And if the humidity level in your home doesn’t match that of Arizona in August, don’t even bother - they will be more like the pink topper on a pencil than the light & airy, crisp and sweet confection that they should be.

Is it any wonder I’m scared?

Perhaps that’s the main reason why Schaum Torte is seldom seen on dessert menus around here.  But done right, it’s a beautiful thing.  Take these shining examples:

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Karl Ratzsch’s

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Mader’s

 

It’s no shocker that those two amazing German restaurants in downtown Milwaukee offer this sweet ending.  But you will be pleasantly surprised to find it on Joey Gerard’s dessert menu as well!

Speaking of great restaurants with German specialties…  Perhaps you’re not in the mood to deal with downtown Milwaukee traffic & parking just for a sample of schnitzel.  And although both wonderful establishments are a great place to celebrate a special occasion, perhaps you want something more family- and budget-friendly.  Once again it’s Meyer’s Restaurant and Bar in Greenfield to the rescue!

Your tummy probably won’t have room for dessert unless you get have your entrée wrapped to go.  But your wallet will certainly have room for a treat thanks to Larry Meyer’s reasonable prices.  (His Schaum Torte, equally amazing in taste is approximately half the price of his colleague’s.)  Not only does Chef Matt create a beautiful dessert, he’s willing to share his trade secrets!  Watch: 

 

 




Ultimately it was Chef Matt who gave me the confidence to try the basic interpretation of his creation.  I put on my Big Girl apron and gave it my best shot.  The Christmas cookies I made were easy enough and tasty enough that I will indeed attempt the beautiful and more sophisticated Tortes.  I’m sure my gluten-intolerant friend will hope for a dinner invitation that evening!  ;-)

While I wish one of my favorite desserts was available on more menus, I applaud the ones that feature it.  A classic dessert that is lovely, delicious and worth the painstaking process?  You guessed it:  a Culinary Yes Yes!

 

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