This year the fall has arrived late, coloring our curves in its breathtaking colors of yellow, gold, orange, hot pink and purples! it's hard to believe all this vivid set is soon to be replaced with the monochromatic color palette of the gloomy winter... (don't understand me wrong, the first snow of the year always makes me excited like a five year old girl, it's the "winter is coming" afterwards that I'm less fond of).
Celebrating this gorgeous fall color palette, was the inspiration to this wedding cake, combining the strong purples, red and burgundy with softer shades of yellows, cream and white, almost dancing a tango over this cascade, decorated with a warm bronze hammered modeling chocolate border.
Since Thanksgiving is all about the gratitude of our families and friends, cherishing the unconditional love and, care and support, it's rather informal, an intimate celebration with the people you are feeling most comfortable to be casual with. Holding on to this thought, it felt right to add a more casual cake, with buttercream diagonal ruffle effect, decorated with organic elements such as dried oranges contributing its vibrant color, star anise, and delicate pieces of cinnamon sticks, that their scent is so familiar with that time of the year.
You can't have a fall celebration without some comforting non-fancy food, the mini-pies are must haves, they give you just the comfort you are looking for in the right amount of bites; we chose the beautiful and romantic apple almond rosettes, the spiced sweet potato pie, fragranced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, and the classic sweet cherry pie, decorated with weaved lattice crust.
To complete the cosiness and add some warmth, we used some earth tones plaid fabrics, and wooden tableware against the cold looking bronze and copper metal accent and edible decorations.
Nothing says fall without some falling leaves... sugar maple leaves decorating vanilla chestnuts cupcakes, and chocolate ganache cake pops, and those cute little sugar bronze reindeer toppers, decorating spicy pumpkin cupcakes.
As always, I'm not sending you away empty handed, this time I would like to share a recipe of a famous Israeli winter treat, called "Crembo", as a kid growing up in the 80's this was the highlight of the winter, they were sold in individual packs at the local neighborhood grocery stores, and were often served on birthday parties. We were waiting impatiently to grab a bite of this sweet whipped meringue peaks, piped on top of a simple cookie, all coated in a hard shell of chocolate.
There were two methods of how to eat this wonderful treat, the first one was top-down, first eat the whipped meringue till you reach the bare cookie without braking it on the way there, and the second method, bottom-up, first eat the cookie then deal with a pile of extremely fragile chocolate coated meringue. I guess you could easily identify the second method people by the traces of chocolate and meringue smear on their faces...
My version includes a chestnut gluten free cookie, but you can easily take a shortcut and use an Oreo cookie of another round cookie that you like.
For the chestnut cookies you will need:
10 oz (300gr) of gluten free flour (I like to use Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 flour, it gives great results without that noticeable taste and smell of their all purpose gluten free flour )
4 oz (0.5 cup) organic brown sugar
7 oz (1 stick+6 tbs/ 200gr) of cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1 package (3.5oz/100g) of roasted peeled chestnuts (I used this one)
0.5 tsp vanilla paste
1 large egg
Place all ingredients but the egg in a food processor with a metal blade, mix using few short pulses till crumbly, then add the egg, pulse again till it starts to incorporate into bigger crumbles, careful not to over do it! Finish by gathering the crumbs into a larger ball of dough (by hand!), do not knead it, just flat it into a disk, wrap with plastic or wax paper and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 360F (180C)
Take the chilled disk, place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and roll it into a 3/16".
Using a round 1.5" cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place them on a pan with a baking sheet/parchment paper.
Bake about 12-15 minutes, depends on the efficiency of your oven.
Let the cookies cool completely before piping the meringue peaks.
For the meringue picks: (yield about 20 units, depends on the size of cookies you are using as a base).
3 fresh egg whites (L eggs)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla paste
For coating: use semi sweet chocolate chips (shredded chocolate), or white chocolate chips/wafers
Start with preparing the swiss meringue; wipe your mixer bowl with a paper towel dump with some plain white vinegar to remove any possible traces of grease. the egg whites are sensitive to grease, they might not whipped properly. Dry completely with a clean dry paper towel.
Place the mixer bowl on top of a saucepan with simmering water, add the sugar, salt and egg whites, constantly whisk, to spread the temperature evenly, we don't want an omelette. Yes, it's a little tedious, you have to continue whisking for about 12 minutes, or till the sugar is fully dissolved, the best way to check it is to dip a finger in the hot batter and check between the fingers if you can still feel some crystals, then you need to continue whisking because the sugar is not fully dissolved, if it feels somehow creamy, sort of an emulsion it is ready to be whipped.
Add the vanilla paste to the mixer bowl, attach the whisk attachment and whisked of maximum speed for about 10-12 minutes until the bowl is not warm to the touch. The meringue should be very light and fluffy.
Space the cookies in a clean pan that fits the size of your freezer.
Place a round tip no. 2A (you can find it here) inside a disposable piping bag, fill with the whipped meringue, pipe peaks in spiral motions about 2"-21/4" height. Repeat for the other cookies.
Place the meringue peaks in the freezer for 40-45min.
About 10min before that chilling time, place the chocolate wafers/chips in a deep cup (make sure the cup is completely dry as well as the spatula you'll be using to stir the chocolate), and melt it in the microwave (not longer than 30sec per interval, I prefer to do it on 50% power for 2 min intervals), stir between each interval to spread the heat evenly, you don't want to seized the chocolate!
The chocolate is ready for coating after it's completely melted, if it's too thick, you can add a tbs of Paramount crystals to make it thinner, do not add more than that all at once, because you don't want it to be too thin. Set to cool for 3-5 min before dipping the chilled meringue peaks.
Hold each cookie as the meringue is hanging upside-down, deep into the chocolate only until mostly covered, flip it back and allow the excess to drip back into the cup. Place on a cooling rack to dry over a parchment paper.
Stir the chocolate before dipping the next one. if the chocolate is too cool and becomes too thick, place back into the micro for 10 sec interval, and stir.
You can drip some Dulce de Leche or caramel sauce on top of the white chocolate ones as I did.
Keep the chocolate covered meringue peaks in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 2-3 days.