Egg whites: A love story
I love egg whites. Not in the “I’ll have the egg white omelette.” cholesterol counting, healthy kind of way, but in the fluffy, sweet, light “I’ll have a second helping. How bad can it be, it’s made with egg whites.” kind of way.
My kids both eat only the egg white of a hard boiled egg. I kind of understand, because the yolk of the hard boiled egg is quite chalky in texture. I have never been too fond of the white in a hard boiled egg. As a child, we had soft boiled eggs that sat upon their egg-cup thrown. Mom would make toast soldiers with her homemade bread or the really good whole grain German bread from the farmer’s market. We would dip our soldiers into the rich golden yolk and then we’d scoop out the white, but I think I only enjoyed the white then because after the richness of the yolk a little white is refreshing.
I have had an egg white frittata at Uncommon Grounds in Watertown that I actually really enjoyed. I’m a bit of a skeptic if you’re going to take out my yolks. I expect rubbery, one-dimensional, tasteless eggs without the yolk. I have also had a good egg sandwich at Sarah’s Market made with egg whites, peppers, and onions (known as Sue’s sandwich if you’re in the know).
But that’s not the egg white that I love. Those are the egg-whites that I tolerate. The egg whites I love are those that make a fluffy, slightly caramelized meringue, a base for my beloved Pavlova, a sticky chewy nougat, an île flottante, or a French macaron. Whenever I think of lemon meringue pie I can’t help but think of the Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish. They are so silly, but there’s something about the power of that pie. She is about to be fired from her job and then one mouthful of her pie turns everything around. My daughter, after reading the books with me, was so excited to discover that lemon meringue pie was something real. I took her to Hi Rise and bought a mini lemon meringue pie for us to share as a family after dinner one day and I relished the treat as much as, if not more than, she did.
None of the aforementioned treats are things are things I would cook on a regular day, but I think about such recipes especially this time of year because of Passover. They definitely are not traditional passover desserts, but I have to admit that’s what I love about them. Some of these just happen to be recipes that don’t use flour so they are perfect for Passover.
If you want to track some of these treats down locally, you can get lemon meringue pies at Hi Rise Bread Co. on Huron Ave. or in Harvard Square. You can buy beautiful macarons at L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square or Formaggio Kitchen on Huron Ave. You can buy some great nougat from Europe at Cardullo’s in Harvard Square or you can head to Formaggio Kitchen. This week Formaggio Kitchen made some great in-house chewy nougat with walnuts and rum-soaked prunes dipped in dark chocolate. I’m going to get one more this week before they sell out.