Put those marigolds in your yard to good use.
Don’t you just love beautiful desserts. Sometimes they look better than they taste. There is nothing worse than seeing, wanting, buying and eating a beautiful dessert only to find that it was all looks and nothing in the taste department.
You should know by now that I love copying or trying to recreate something I’ve eaten at a restaurant. It’s not like going to someone’s house and you love something and ask the hostess for the recipe and she’ll give it to you. You have to do a little detective work sometimes.
A few weeks ago, I met my daughter, Alexis for lunch in Austin at Olemaie. I always want what the person next to me ordered. This girl had a bowl that looked like salad, had some interesting greens, sprouts, fennel etc on top but it was a bowl of dumplings and not salad at all. The most delicious drop dumplings I’ve ever had and I didn’t think I even liked “dropped” dumplings and the bowl had pieces of fermented carrot floating in the broth along with the dumplings. Of course we ordered their BISCUITS which are not on the menu at all; they are a secret and only people knowing about then, know to order them. I’d read about them before going there. $10 for three biscuits with honey butter and it was the best $10 I’ve spent in a long time. Big square biscuits, brown and crunchy on all sides and soft in the middle. (Of course, I’m trying to find out how they made them and I did read some of their secrets which I will be trying.)
We couldn’t resist trying the lemon sorbet. I asked the waitress what the liquid in the bottom of the bowl was and when she said marigold mint syrup I knew it was probably a simple syrup which is just sugar and water. So I knew all I had to do was throw in some mint out of my herb garden and cut a few calendulas and made a syrup.
The meringue was easy because I’ve made meringue cookies for years. I didn’t know what the green stuff was though so I emailed the restaurant and they actually emailed me back the same day — meyer lemon leaf dust. (Who knew of such a thing?) So how was I going to make that — easy, just pick some of my meyer lemon leaves and throw them in the dehydrator and wait until they are dried out and then turn then in to dust.
I suspected the drops of oil were olive oil. I used lemon olive oil because I thought it would go with the lemon sorbet. So that’s it. Buy some lemon sorbet (Hagen Das) and you have just made a wonderful, beautiful dessert that is great for the spring and summer. I will probably change it up some this summer and use a raspberry sorbet with the same meringues. All you have to do is make the syrup, dust and meringues and buy your sorbet. How much easier could a recipe be?
First I dried out some meyer lemon leaves in my dehydrator. If you don’t have one, dry out some leaves (not skip the leaf part) in a very low oven (as low as your’s will go) until dried and crumbly. Then turn into dust by mashing or putting in small processor. Put in air tight container.
Put the 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, marigold (I used calendulas which is member of that family.) and the mint and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let set 30 minutes before straining. (I also left some of the flower petals in the syrup but removed all the mint.)
Beat the room temperature egg whites along with the cream of tartar until you have soft peaks.
Start sprinkling in the granulated sugar as you beat and continue to beat until you have stiff peaks.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Spread the meringue mixture over the cookie sheet using an offset spatula as thin as you can spread it. Sprinkle with your meyer lemon leaf dust and bake at 250° for 20-25 minutes or until it has crisp up. Remove from oven and when cool break up and put in airtight container until ready to use.
Pour a small amount (about 1/3 cup) of marigold mint syrup into a shallow bowl. Dot with some lemon olive oil (or if you don’t have flavored, just use regular olive oil.) I like the pieces of cooked marigold, you can strain out if you want.
Top with scoop of lemon sorbet. Olamaie restaurant did their’s in a quenelle shape (football). I tried but my sorbet was too firm and I think I like this look better (see their picture below).
Add some pieces of meringue bark and a few marigold petals if you have them. Garnish with mint leaves.
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar.
- Marigold/Mint Syrup
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 c. mint leaves
- 1/2-3/4 c.marigold or calendulas flowers (I only had about 5 flowers)
- Lemon Sorbet
- 1/4 c. lemon olive oil (or regular olive oil)
- 10 meyer lemon leaves, optional
- For the mint/marigold syrup put the sugar and water, mint and flowers into a small sauce pan. Bring to a low boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat and let it steep for about 20-30 minutes. When cool, put in lidded jar and refrigerate until needed.
- For the meringue: Put the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar into bowl and beat with electric mixer until you have soft peaks form. Slowly sprinkle in the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until you have stiff peaks. (They won't be really stiff since you have add the sugar.) Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil then spray with cooking spray. Spread the meringue mixture over the foil as thin as you can get it. Bake at 200° for about 20 or more until it has crisped up. You don't want it bendable at all. You can test by lifting up the edges after about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let it remain in the oven until it has cooled then remove, break into pieces and store in tin or airtight container until ready to use.
- Now, the hard part. Pour a little syrup into a bowl, dot with some of the lemon olive oil (or regular), add a large scoop of lemon sorbet and garnish with some shards of the meringue bark and mint leaves.
- This is one of the most simple, delicious, beautiful desserts I have ever made. Hope you will give it a try.