In search of savory Beet Meringue recipe, molecular gastronomy detectives needed
Jose Andres of Bazaar in Beverly Hills served us a Beet Meringue stuffed with goat cheese that I am wishing to replicate. I have ordered some beet powder and will use that to replace some sugar. But these little morsels quickly melted in your mouth before you had a chance to bite down. Almost the way that cotton candy softens when it hits your mouth.
So- -any molecular gastronomists out there??? I suspect something else has been added to create the melting effect as it hits the palate. I was wondering if baking soda (?) or something like that would do it.
I watched the chef put them together. It was simply this baby meringue “cookie” piped with a dab of goat cheese and another “cookie” on top. They were only about ½” in diameter.
Oddly enough, I was served something identical at the Marcel Vigneron dinner at Bread Bar Thursday night. (And he also works at Bazaar). But that night they were a more ordinary coffee flavored meringue with chocolate in the middle. It didn’t “melt” like the beet meringue.
We had a beet meringue amuse bouche at Aldea in NYC and it was like nothing I had ever eaten. I'm also looking for a way to recreate it. I found an article in Food & Wine and they mention the beet meringue. They say Chef Mendes takes beet juice and egg white powder, whips it up and dehydrates it to make the meringues.
Seeing as how I have beet powder already (instead of juicing beets), I might try adding it to egg white and whipping that up. And either baking them or dehydrating them.
Egg white powder (meringue powder is what you want to ask for) is available in baking supply and party stores and online at www.sweetc.com or www.Amazon.com.
If you have a dehydrator or a microwave, a juicer and a great deal of time, I'm sure you could make your own beet powder. Given that, it's sold in health food stores and online. It's also available at Amazon.com and some spice companies carry it.
Meringues normally melt when they hit your tongue, especially when they've been dehydrated rather than baked. I highly doubt whether the chef put anything else (especially a leavener like baking soda) in them. Cream of tartare is used to make meringue, as well as sugar, nothing else.
You really don't need egg white powder to make meringue, you can just use egg whites. I do recommend dehydrating the meringues instead of baking, they will just melt away in your mouth as they are very dry, as opposed to the oven baked variety, which may tend to have some tooth.
Or use the idea from the link leanneabe suggested, using beet juice and meringue powder.
A good start, in the dehydrator until "done." I just can't say how long, the beauty is that you have to just try one every once in a while to see if they done. Could be hours. They should be very dry and quite delicate.
Make sure the meringue is as sweet as you want. The beet juice will sweeten it but don't use too much juice or the egg whites won't whip. You will probably need to add sugar anyway. I suspect the chef reduces the beet juice quite a bit, to concentrate the sugar and color. I would reduce the juice that if I was making these. The heat won't hurt the beet pigment, which is anthocyanin.
Good luck, let us know how they come out.
Meringue recipe link from a trusted site:
Egg white powder and meringue powder are a bit different - meringue powder usually has sugar added to it.
The beet meringue at Aldea was completely savory. It was like eating a freeze dried beet that melted in your mouth. I don't know if the one the OP ate had any sweetness to it. But, I'm going to try making them without added sugar.
I didn't know the difference between baking and dehydrating meringues. Good to know! I will definitely try them in the dehydrator first since I do want that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Then if they were savory, the kitchen used egg white powder, found in health food stores or vitamins supplement places like GNC, no sugar in the egg white. Not the same as meringue powder, you're right.
Beet juice has quite a bit of sugar so if it was completely savory, then beet powder was probably used.
I'm wondering if Aldea didn't freeze dry the meringue in nitrogen, as it's almost impossible to make a standard meringue without sugar. Freeze drying would definitely give you a melt in the mouth texture.