Sweetbriar Dreams

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Disaster of the Spanish Windtorte

So what is a Spanish Windtorte I hear you ask.  With the Great British Bake Off in full swing, my rotating blades, wooden spoons and baking sheets have been dusted off as I say out loud

 "Oh what is the fuss about, I can do that"  

And so, the marvel of the Spanish Windtorte was my challenge.  A "complex Viennese confection of meringue, whipped cream and summer berries, finished with fondant violets".  What could go wrong?

Firstly there were eggs, loads of them!  Lots of meringue needs to be made, both Swiss and French - Is there a difference?  I was soon to find out. 

Mr Teen started to help with separating the eggs, and the first disaster set the scene for the day - what's a little yellow in the egg white between friends.  Yes, a touch of yolk in the precious white which equals an obvious disaster if you want a meringue with stiff peaks!  So, let's just say there were plenty of omelettes made later!  More egg whites and at last the rotating blades started work and the French meringue started to take shape.

The baking sheets were primed with baking paper and the icing bag waited in readiness as the meringue stiffened.  The lid and bottom of the Windtorte were to be shaped.  The icing bag was filled and poised ready to start the creation of this amazing piece of confection engineering.  No where in the book did it say that once the icing bag felt the pressure it would explode with the sweetened marshmallow gooiness.  With hands covered in the mixture, the baking sheet exhibiting a work of modern art (??!!), the kitchen cupboards displaying a white meringue splatter and the air a lovely shade of blue, I resorted to freezer bags with a corner cut out and  spoon to make little ripples in the meringue.  A bit rustic but it would have to do.  

45 minutes in the oven for the top and bottom of the Windtorte.  Deep sigh, now to find out how to make three rings to be the sides of this enigma and how to pipe them!  At the very back of one of my 'odds and sods' drawers, an old plastic icing gadget was found.  Small, but it would need to perform today.  And so, three rustic, uneven rings were made.  Already, my patience was running thin... just like the rings!

Well, I tried to make them thicker, but you can see from the cracks already what was going to happen.  45 minutes for these three and then time to cool while the second type of meringue was mixed.  More eggs! More sugar and the glossy Swiss meringue took shape.  A whiter meringue, but paranoia had set in.  What was this innocent gooey mixture going to do to me?!  I could hear it with it's evil laugh mocking me.

With the three rings, top and bottom out of the oven and cool, it was time to construct.  First remove the thin meringue from the baking sheet in one piece... erm ok reality check! -  first remove the thin meringue and start collecting the pieces to put together with the remaining French meringue!  Brick laying is not my forte!

And then smooth the sides with the rest of the remaining French meringue so that it looks cake like.  I tried!  45 minutes in the oven again.

Then, joy of joys, something completely different!  Cut up the raspberries and strawberries and add them to double cream and icing sugar.  Mix them up and try not to eat the bowlful when you are trying to counteract the stress that the meringue is giving you!!

My goodness this was so good!  A ruby gem amongst the chaos that reflected all around my kitchen.

The meringue structure came out of the oven... AGAIN... Yawn! and by now my patience was really beginning to wane and boredom was setting in.  The old icing contraption was filled with the Swiss icing and I attempted to make a pretty side to the prepared meringue, but by now I really didn't care.

You know what's next... in the oven for 30 minutes (slightly different!!).  And then, in goes the filling (what's left of it anyway!).

The top went on, complete with worm like feature to hide the enormous crack when I scraped it off the baking paper.

The flowers?  Well, by then it was time to pick up Miss Teen from her friends.  It had taken me all day!  So, no flowers.  But, here is an idea of how it should look from the Great British Bake Off's new Celebration book...

And here's mine (??!!)

Stop laughing!... how rude!

To look at this feat of cake engineering you may be lulled into the sense of security that this is just a meringue with a cream filling.  Stop right there!  You need patience, a lot of it.  My 'creation' took all day!

Laughing aside, let's just say that this was an absolute pain to make but incredibly delicious!  What have a learned from this experience?

1. Don't laugh at contestants and their mistakes - I will make worse ones!
2. Make sure the icing bag is built on industrial proportions.
3. My life is too short.
4. Remember to not move the rotating blades out of the mix with the power still on.
5. Yolks and whites do not make a meringue.
6. Referring to number 4 - Don't have a sleeping deaf dog in the kitchen, she has no idea what the large white dandruff on her fur is when she wakes up.
7. Enjoy your life, buy the meringue, break it up and make the filling.  

If there is anything that The Great British Bake Off shows, it is to test yourself with baking things you wouldn't normally do, or have even heard of.  I have bought the book now and already have a list of other dishes to make.  I must be barking mad!

So, all day to make and eaten in an hour, it really was delicious!  I wonder which recipe I will be making next?!

Have a wonderful meringue free week.

p.s.  thank you so much for all your comments last week, you are truly lovely.  Hopefully today I will get round to you all.  Life is manic at the moment and making meringues all day does not help!  Your visits and taking time out of your day to comment are always incredibly appreciated and make me smile.  Bless you.

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  1. You are definitely being too hard on yourself Chel!! I have seen some other blogland tries at this and yours definitely wins for the best looks so far!!! Others have tried valiantly and had good results, but yours looks most like the photo so far! Hope that it tasted very yummy!!! xx

  2. I think it looks amazing. Well done you. I love the GBBO and the GBSB too but I'd never put myself through that. The pressure would probably be enough to put you off baking and sewing for life! :o)

  3. Congratulations!. I think your meringue looks delicious. (Dont forget that the one in the book was definitely not a first attempt.)
    You should be proud of it. Alison

  4. Chell, your efforts are well rewarded, the meringue looks delicious, especially now I know what it contains, raspberries, strawberries and cream,mmmmm. I don´t think I will give this a try, I´m far too impatient, but I enjoyed your story ever so much.

  5. Hey Chel!!
    That looks very well.
    Nice to make and it would taste delicious with strawberries. Lovely!!
    Good shots you've made parenthetically.

    Many greetings,

  6. Hi Chel! Don't be too hard on yourself. Your meringue doesn't look as bad as you think. The only differences between the one in the book and yours are: it was your first attempt and not them , and you didn't have time to add the flowers.

  7. Would Pavlova have been more simple? What's next a croquembouche?

  8. I am amazed!!!! It looks brilliant!!! Last time I made meringue, it was disastrous!!!

  9. My forte are mechanical creations. I wouldn't even attempt such an undertaking as the cake. It looks scrumptious. Well done Chel. Thanks for sharing. Hope your day is blessed. ~:)

  10. I love nice cookbooks like this but I don't make fancy desserts any more. We keep things pretty simple and usually sugar free. Love your photos! Enjoy your day sweet friend.

  11. I am not laughing, but smiling....something my mom taught me, when making meringues, put the bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 10 min---they need to be very cold when beating the eggs. Honest, Chel, you will have a better time of it. It still looks good, and I would eat it, smiles. Blessings sweet friend, Blessings.

  12. I can't tell you how many times I have turned a food item putting the bad part to the back for the camera! This looks fabulous and things don't have to be perfect. People love truth these days because..........you know! Looks yummy!

  13. Your meringue looks delicious, greeting from Blegium.

    Blog my city Mons in Belgium,made a visit:

  14. Well, way to go, Chel! I think it looks scrumptious! Things that take all day are not my favorites.

  15. Chel despite the meringue explosion, flowers or not your desert turned out beautiful. You did give me a chuckle and I love the first photograph of the egg shells. I could see it framed in a kitchen.

  16. I can relate LOL! Your confection looks beautiful! Love the filling! Not to make for the weak of heart! Have a wonderful day!

  17. Oh Wow Chel! I think it looks amazing! I would never attempt such a concoction so I certainly admire you and your efforts. I bet it tasted delicious with all the fruit mixed inside. Lovely!

  18. Hey! That didn't turn out too badly at all! I was expecting something far more disastrous!! Well done, Chel. I am sure your family appreciated every drop of sweat theta went into this. After all, it took them a whole 10 minutes to eat it, right? :)

  19. Hello Chel (the Birthday Girl), I hope you had a wonderful birthday!
    You cake looks and sounds so good! You did a great job and how fun to be using the recipes from your new Cookbook!
    Have a lovely week.
    Julie xo

  20. What an amazing feat, Chel! It looks yummy! I actually saw my first GBBO on a US public station this evening and loved it. I'm going to look for more of them on line. I have watched the Great British Sewing Bee for all three (?) seasons and love it. I hope they do another season. I find them on line.

  21. Wow, it looks good enough to eat but sounds too much trouble to me :) I think I'll stick with the old pavlova and just try the double cream and berry filling with it. Good on you for giving it a go, looking forward to your next creation.
    Have a nice day,


  22. Kudos. I wouldn't even have begun to attempt it. As someone whose culinary efforts mostly end up in the bin you have all my respect and more!

  23. Chel!!! How I larffed! Great blog-post so funny - but hey! WHat a great result!! Don't knock your achievement, it looks fabulous and I bet every mouthful was sheer pleasure! Well done!

  24. You had me in stitches reading this post (sorry, I couldn't help myself). That was quite a dessert you took on. It sounded very complicated but also yummy. - The neat thing is that you tried and even if it wasn't picture perfect you accomplished something.

  25. :-)) We got hooked to this show last year. It was aired just before Downton Abbey. :-)) I loved reading this today. LOL

  26. This is exactly why I don't bake. Yours look just like the picture, minus the flowers of course!

  27. Oh! I remember that Windtorte on the Great British Bakeoff! It looks like you've done a fabulous job! What patience and perseverance you have!

  28. Well done on the marathon effort and gold stars for not giving up.

  29. I've never ever made any meringue so hats off to you! It looks amazing!!

  30. We have the same kind of show in France... I love watching it and baking very simple muffins the day after! Your windtorte does looks yummy and was worth all the time you spent on it.


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