Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 57th installment. The recipe is Tropical Napoleons.
This recipe was surprisingly easy - initially I wasn't too sure I wanted to make it, since I was short on time, but I, and the family were glad I did. It's a good idea to watch the video, since that demystified the recipe for me. The photo in the cookbook looked complicated, but the video make the process look easy. You use a template to spread out consistently shaped meringue disks, and then layer them with whipped cream and fruit. Yummy! Kind of like a differently shaped pavlova. I made three variations - the one above with strawberries, mango, and kiwi, one with just strawberries, and one with only cream and wafers. I didn't choose to stir coconut into the meringue, but I did make some wafers with coconut and sesame seeds on them. It was a nice complement to the cream and fruit.
Based on bakers' comments on the Tuesdays with Dorie comments thread, I was ready to try various baking sheet options to see what would work. I've experience the nightmare of sticking meringue before. I tried
- Silpat (silicone mat)
- greased and floured parchment
- greased and floured baking sheet.
Surprisingly, Silpat was the worst. I think it might have been the woven texture of the mat, which got in the way of it releasing. My favorite was either the greased and floured parchment (fussy, but easy because you could peel away the parchment) or the greased and floured baking sheet. I was actually surprised that I was able to get the wafers off that one. You MUST have a metal spatula with a thin, sharp edge to get under the wafers - these would be a major headache without it.