FOOD & FLOWERS
A MONTHLY FEATURE SHOWCASING SEASONAL FLOWERS AND PRODUCE AS WE FIND THEM (TOTALLY IMPROMPTU) GROWING AT HOPE FLOWER FARM AND AT FARMERS MARKETS IN VIRGINIA. FOOD IN FLOWERS AND EDIBLE FLOWERS IN FOOD with floral designer holly chapple and... us!
OH. MY. GOD. Let's talk about how much difference a month makes when it comes to spring in Virginia. In April's food and flowers feature we were catching the daffodils and lilacs...and that was about it. At the market it was lots of root veggies like ramps, spring onions and radishes. As soon as May rolled around we were frolicking in color. Pinks, oranges, purples, blues. And berries. BERRY SEASON is starting.
In spring, at least editorially, everyone goes for blushes and whites. It's very 'pretty' and airy. It's lovely. But I love different and Holly's brain did not disappoint. This arrangement is a little moody and has tons of different shapes. The massive allium on the left (related to onions!) looks otherworldly. The garlic scapes (long green stems with bulbs at the end-they're edible) are what thrill me the most. There's even spinach that has almost gone to seed in this floral arrangement and it's equally beautiful, holding its own to the peonies.
For food we made a schaum torte topped with tiny spring strawberries, strawberry whipped cream and pistachios and basil to round out the flavor. When we dug into the schaum torte after the shoot (benefits of food projects) everyone loved how the basil paired with the strawberries and meringue. That's a combination Chris and I love, but we forget it's not super common to other people day to day. Try it out!
You saw Jack, Hope Flower Farm's cat, in the last video, but he continues to be the "world's best manipulator". He's not allowed inside the house, but he tries.
Every two or three years I put up a variation of the same tutorial/recipe for schaum tortes. It's the recipe I make over and over and over, and I keep heading to the blog to get it. The most recent post on the schaum torte was this one with wineberries in 2014. Before that, it was this fabulous POS post with delightfully terrible images from 2012. As I mention in previous iterations, a pavlova or schaum torte or whatever you want to call it, is gluten free. It's very light and a great warm weather dessert. Because the base (the big white meringue) is essentially just 'sweet', you can use whatever you're finding at your market for a fruit topping. And as long as you have two egg whites and some sugar, you can make it. That's more than I can say for a complex cake.
Spring Strawberry Basil Schaum Torte
Serves 6 from large single schaum torte
/// Ingredients ///
- 2 large egg whites
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- basil, chiffonaded
- chopped pistachios
- fresh strawberries
- whipping cream
Note: If desired, add juice from strawberries (no solids, reduce and mash and strain on stove) to whipping cream while beating to achieve pink color and additional strawberry flavor.
/// Directions /// Wash bowls and whisk attachment thoroughly to remove grease which may prevent egg whites from reaching their full potential. Bring egg whites to room temperature. If you’ve just pulled them out of the fridge, place egg whites in a clean bowl. Place the bowl with egg whites into a bowl filled with warm water. This will speed up the process. Once the egg whites reach room temperature, whisk the egg whites until they become frothy.
Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. As the egg whites increase in volume, add the sugar spoonful by spoonful. You should feel or see granulated sugar within the egg white mixture. If you don't, you can continue to add up to 1/4 cup more sugar, spoon by spoon, but the 2/3 cup should work pretty perfectly.
The egg white mixture will be ready once it looks like thick whipped frosting with stiff peaks. From my experience, it’s a few minutes beyond the very glossy stage.
Preheat the oven to 250 F. On a clean baking sheet, spoon meringue into the desired size. Using the back side of a spoon, make a nest in the center of the meringue for filling. Put the meringue in the oven for 1 hour 15- 1 hour and 30 minutes. The meringues are cooked slowly on a low temperature to keep their white color. When they are finished they will feel dry and crisp. Some may develop hairline cracks up the side. Your meringue will be ready if it sounds hollow when tapped and cracks have formed.
When cool, serve with berries, whipped cream, chopped pistachios and fresh basil.
Poppies, baptisia, ranunculus, tree peony, standard peoony, broom, smokebush, mock orange, deutzia, spinach, lettuce, allium schubertii, nandina, photinia, scilla, garlic scapes, dahlia, maple,
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.