CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – My fridge is always full, but not because I’m cooking for a crowd. It seems as if half of the contents are condiments, pickles, jams and nut butters. There is, of course, food bought each week for meals, and there are always leftovers, because I hate to waste anything.
I’m preparing to review a baking book, and many of the recipes I’m trying call for egg yolks. Consequently, there’s a surplus of egg whites in the fridge now. I could freeze them, using this method recommended by eggs.ca. Pour them into freezer containers, seal tightly, label with the number of egg whites and the date and freeze. For faster thawing and easier measuring, first freeze each white in an ice cube tray and then transfer to a freezer container.
To use frozen egg whites, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or under running cold water; cook as soon as they’re defrosted. 30 mL (2 tbsp) of thawed egg white is the equivalent of 1 large fresh white.
I don’t think I’ll freeze the egg whites in my fridge, as there are plenty of options for using them fresh.
Among the easiest and healthiest dishes that incorporate extra egg whites are scrambled eggs and omelets. While some folks like an all-white scramble or omelet, I prefer whole eggs combined with extra whites, in a 1:1 ratio. To make scrambled eggs, I first sauté some tasty vegetables, like chopped green onions and peppers (we’re using the garden peppers we froze at summer’s end), and then add the eggs to the pan after whisking them together with a splash of milk. It’s good for breakfast or lunch.
Other possibilities are to bake a white cake (using only egg whites for a pure white colour), a fluffy angel food cake, or meringue shells to serve with fruit or a sauce. An egg white, thinned with cold water to make it easy to work with, makes a wash to brush on the surface of pastry or scones before baking so that they will brown well and have a nice shine.
Pavlova, created in Australia and said to have been named for Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, is a luscious meringue dessert with a crisp exterior and soft creamy inside. It’s topped with whipped cream, or for a lower-fat option, with lemony yogurt cream, and fresh fruit. Although I’m definitely a fan of whipped cream, I love Katherine Schaefer’s version of this dessert, made with Lemon Cream.
Pavlova with Lemon Cream
From Schaefer, K., and M. Prouse: “Healthy Christmas Eating Recipe Collection”. 1998.
4 egg whites
250 mL (1 cup) instant-dissolving berry sugar, or superfine sugar
5 mL (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
10 mL (2 tsp) cornstarch
5 mL (1 tsp) white vinegar
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 150 C (300 F).
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Very gradually add sugar while continuing to beat. Fold in vanilla, cornstarch, and vinegar.
Spread mixture in a circle building up around the edges to form a nest-shaped shell.
Bake on a lower oven rack in preheated oven for 1 hour. The shell should be golden brown, with a soft interior.
Let cool completely. Run a knife under the meringue. Carefully remove it from the paper, and gently move it to a serving plate or tray.
Just before serving, add filling and garnish with fresh fruit.
Makes 6-8 servings
250 mL (1 cup) yogurt cheese or plain Greek yogurt
mL (⅓ cup) granulated sugar
grated rind of 1 medium lemon
mL (1 tbsp) fresh lemon juice
To make yogurt cheese, place 500 mL (2 cups) plain yogurt in a coffee filter or double layer of cheesecloth set in a strainer over a bowl. Allow to drain for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Discard drained liquid and measure 250 mL (1 cup) yogurt cheese. As an alternative, use 250 mL (1 cup) of plain Greek yogurt.
In a small bowl, combine yogurt cheese, sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Makes about 300 mL (1¼ cups).
To serve the Pavlova, spoon Lemon Cream into the meringue shell, and garnish with fruit. Sliced kiwi, any berries, sliced bananas, whatever tickles your fancy.
Margaret Prouse, a home economist, can be reached by writing her at RR#2, North Wiltshire, P.E.I., C0A 1Y0, or by email at email@example.com.