Schaum Torte (Paleo, Primal)
Meringues and pavlovas make for such light, impressive, and naturally grain-free spring desserts. If you want to go the individual shell route, see the Pavlovas with Lime Curd that pastry chef extraordinnaire Zoe Francois shared with me a few years back.
Or, you can bake the meringue as one whole, in a spring form pan or even in a non-stick cake pan. No fancy equipment required! As written below, this recipe is not paleo-fied, but substitute coconut sugar and whipped coconut cream and it will be. The classic Schaum Torte is filled with strawberries but any berry would be fabulous. Or even sliced bananas! Keep this recipe available all summer long, in fact, because peaches…yeah. YUM.
If you like, feel free to add a little booze to the whipped cream. I’ve added a couple of tablespoons of Marsala before, to steal a hint of the flavor from one of my other favorite desserts, Zabligione. Which, now that I think of it, is another easily paleo-fied dessert, hmmmm, let me add that to the cue… I was introduced to it by my stepmom Susanna (like a lot of my favorite foods) and yes, that needs to be a future post. If you go the banana route, the addition of a little rum would be so lovely. I can imagine some salty candied pecans to finish. Mmmph.
No matter how you decide to fill it, it is just damn fun to break into the soft center of a crusty meringue and fill it with whipped cream. The presentation is beautiful – you could even fill it at the table – and the melt-in-your-mouth lightness is spot on after a heavy meal.
Spring forth, friends!
Many of you Wisconsinites know all about Schaum Torte, but for those of you who haven’t heard of it: Schaum Torte is very similar to a Pavlova, in essence a meringue cake. Made of little more than egg whites and sugar, it emerges from the oven golden and crusty on top, yet soft and marshmallow-y in the center. After cooling, the top cracks beautifully and collapses a bit, creating a lovely hollow to fill with piles of fresh berries and whipped cream. Heavenly. (Especially right now, this very minute, when locally grown strawberries are hitting the markets.)
Bonus: Schaum Torte is deceptively easy to prepare given its impressive presentation. Beat egg whites with sugar and bake. You can do that. Bonus again: Schaum Torte just happens to be the perfect follow-up to last week’s chocolate ice cream recipe, given the eight conveniently leftover egg whites.
Note: Make the torte the day you plan to serve it. Hold it uncovered at room temperature. If you’re baking it on a very humid day, the crusty top may lose a bit of its snap and become chewier – still delicious! If you decide to substitute coconut cream for heavy cream, read these instructions so you can plan to chill the coconut milk a day ahead.
8 egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 c. sugar, divided (1 2/3 c. + 1/3 c.), plus 2 Tbsp. for the whipped cream (can substitute coconut or maple sugar)
1 1/2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream (can substitute coconut cream; see here for how to whip)
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 10-inch spring-form pan (or 9×13 cake pan). Place egg whites and vinegar in the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Beat on high until egg whites hold soft peaks. Slowly beat 1 2/3 c. sugar into the egg whites, a few tablespoons at a time, until whites are stiff and glossy.
Spread egg whites in prepared pan and place pan in the oven. Bake for 60-70 minutes (60 minutes if using 9×13 pan, 70 minutes if using 10-inch spring-form pan) or until the torte is nicely golden brown and cracked. Turn the oven off, open the door a crack (I use a folded towel to hold the door open by an inch), and let the torte cool in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the torte from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
About 10 minutes before you plan to serve the torte, stir 1/3 c. sugar into the berries and let sit at room temperature. Beat the cream, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp. of sugar together until soft peaks form.
To serve: press the center of the torte in a bit, to about 1 inch from the sides of the pan, to form a well. Spoon the whipped cream into the well and top with berries. Release the sides of the spring-form pan and cut into slices, or just scoop out big spoonfuls into serving bowls.