Friday, October 30, 2009

Fantasmas Dulces [Ghost Sweets]

I first saw these on 101 Cookbooks, but I've since seen them so many other places that I don't know who deserves the credit. All I know is that they amuse me every time I make them.

Mine are flavored with HerbSaint, an absinthe clone from Louisiana that imparts a nice anise flavor often found in Mexican baked goods. I even used anise seed for the eyes; their tiny stems look like wild eyebrows... which, of course, doesn't make sense. Why would a ghost have eyebrows?

I included my recipe after the jump but you should use whatever meringue recipe works for you. Some people go nuts about meringue specifics, but I've found they're not that fussy if you use enough sugar.

Recipe: Fantasmas Dulces [Ghost Sweets]
You can swap vanilla or almond extract for the Herb Saint. I've also made these with black sesame seeds, silver dragoons, or mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

Yield: ~36 ghosts
3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Herb Saint or Pernod
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar

anise seeds to garnish

Preheat oven to 225F. [Put your whites in your mixing bowl and leave them near the stove until they're room temp.] Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fill a small bowl with anise seedsWhisk the two sugars together and set aside.

Add salt and liquor to whites. Using a whisk attachment, whip whites on low speed until foamy on top, ~1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, ~45 seconds. With the machine running, pour in sugar in a steady stream. Once mostly combined, stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and whip again on high speed until stiff peaks form, ~45 seconds more. Spoon into a pastry bag [without a tip] or a gallon ziploc [cut a corner off the bag when you're ready].

Pipe ghost shapes as 3 stacked mounds. [imperfections = personality] Use your finger to place the eyes. Bake 1 hour, turn oven off, and leave for another 1-3 hours or until stiff to the touch. If it humid, transfer immediately to an airtight container.



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