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I was supposed to make a berry pavlova for my family for Christmas dinner this past year.
Basically, this is a wondrous meringue and berry dessert (pudding, shout out for our UK folks!) that I make with a whisky whipped cream.
Funny thing with meringue is, you can’t rush it. Seems like the easiest dish in the world, whip egg whites and sugar together for a really frickin’ long time, savour the goodness after it bakes. But if you don’t whip the egg whites long enough, the meringue isn’t firm enough to hold up, and turns into a skating rink of possibly edible goo.
Last time I made it, I hand whipped the egg whites, which meant it definitely didn’t get firm enough for a wreath, but somehow made it to sheet form for our last pub quiz of the year (and my going away night.)
This time, I thought the luxury of an electric whisk would make it easier.
Boy, was I wrong.
I started spooning the meringue, and realized it was firm enough. But I was in a rush, so I poured it onto a sheet, hoping it would at least hold up. Most of my sister’s baking sheets don’t have sides, so the mix dripped and dropped off the side like a sticky waterfall. I messily transferred the parchment to the smaller baking sheet with sides.
After baking the meringue for an hour and leaving it in the over for an hour, I took it out, and went to flip the sheet to cover it with Scottish whisky whipped cream, an attempt to keep a small piece of the plans I had to be in Scotland for the holidays alive and happy. But the meringue had not set, and we could not peel the baking paper off.
I looked at my sister and tossed it in the trash, angrily with frustration. She put her arm around my should and told me “It’s ok. Sometimes, when I’m baking, I want something to turn out one way, and it just doesn’t work out the way I planned. You can always make another.”
For anyone who read my 2017 annual review post, this was the second time in 2017 I collapsed on my sister sobbing. “That’s been my entire 2017!”
Needless to say, this article, which has been going like hotcakes in the newsfeeds and shares this week, definitely resonated with me. Probably because it combines writing and the widely popular show about British people baking.
I’m always really interested in articles that take every day experiences and teach us about writing and creativity through their lessons.
It makes the breakdowns in kitchens over spilled milk and soggy meringues a little more bearable.