Tag Archives: egg whites

The English Garden

While I love the start of Farmers Market season in DC for access to great fresh goods, I admit that one of the first things I make a beeline for is strawberries. Whether I just eat them straight, make ice cream or sorbet with them or find a way to introduce them into my cocktails, I’m generally coming home with at least 2 pints.

English Garden Just over a year ago, I got together with Stephanie of Adventures in Shaw (and now Whisked!) to come up with a seasonal cocktail using strawberries, and I figured why not stick with what works for 2011.

I first tried my strawberry puree with St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, lemon and gin and it was “good” but not great. It had the essence of fruit and floral notes, but was missing something. I recall that one of our favorite drinks at Againn was the Lady MacBethrecipe here–which uses an egg white to lighten up the drink and give it a lovely foamy head that feels like a pillow on the tongue.

I’d never used an egg white in any of my cocktails before, but after a little research I felt confident enough that it would work and had a very small chance of making me sick. I don’t have egg allergies and the risk of salmonella is small. Plus, as I use raw eggs in my cooking all the time, clearly I have no fear. So I modified the recipe, added in an egg white, shook until I thought my arms would fall off and ended up with a definite winner.

English Garden

English Garden, instagram style

  • 1 12 oz. gin
  • 12 oz. strawberry puree*
  • 12 oz. St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • 12 oz. simple syrup
  • splash lemon juice
  • 1 large egg white (about 2 tbsp?)**
  1. Pour gin, strawberry puree, St. Germain, simple syrup and lemon juice into cocktail shaker and give a good stir to blend ingredients.
  2. Add egg white, stir, then give a good shake (no ice, yet) to mix ingredients and prepare yourself for what’s about to come. I was also advised that removing the spring from a cocktail strainer, balling it up and adding it to the shaker in this step would help. The insert from a ball whisk would likely also do.
  3. Add ice, I usually fill 2/3 of the way, and shake like your life depended on it. I found that a clear shaker was the most fun for this because you can see the mixture get really frothy. But seriously, give it a good hard shake. You aren’t trying to create a mousse or meringue, but you are trying to get that quality from the egg white to lighten the drink.
  4. Using a mesh strainer, strain into cocktail glass. As you’ve likely pulverized the ice into shards and pellets, this will keep the drink ice-free, it should also keep strawberry bits out of the drink depending on how smooth your puree is. You may find that you need to tap or shake the strainer to get everything through.

* Strawberry puree is made by chopping and hulling strawberries, add sugar to taste and stir. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, then puree in blender, food processor or with immersion/stick blender. Strain and keep in fridge. (If solely for cocktails, adding a tablespoon vodka will help it last longer)

** If you have an egg allergy or just fear raw eggs, you can also use pasteurized or powdered egg whites. No promises that it will have the same effect, but may be easier if making a lot at once.

I call it an English Garden because it has the feel of having afternoon tea, with cakes and biscuits, out on a patio or in the garden… while getting nicely hammered. Unfortunately there’s already a drink called English Garden that is similar but tries to be more English than Garden. Still, I should probably find a new name for mine.

Any ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Chopper’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

We all have our standby recipes that are, first and foremost, easy. They may also be impressive, but like a well-known commercial illustrates, they really aren’t any trouble at all. And then there are those recipes that may happen to be easy, but are also chosen clearly to knock people’s socks off.

Parchment off, ready to travel

I first made this cake nearly 4 years ago when some friends were getting together for a cooking night. I’d never tried making any sort of mousse before, let alone into a cake, so I was pretty nervous about it. Mostly I was nervous about dealing with egg whites as I’d heard so many horror stories about how easy it is to screw up trying to whip them! Armed with that experience though, I was able to triumph this time around with no problems at all. I even decided to add a little snowflake effect to the top of the cake as a symbolic way to say goodbye to DCs snowy season–one hopes.

The recipe is not mine, but comes from Belly Timber, where Chef “Chopper Dave” adapted some recipes to develop a chocolate/hazelnut cake base, a chocolate mousse center layer and a chocolate ganache top. Since this is proper baking, a scale is best, but I was able to make adequate conversions to survive without one. And as the recipe is in three distinct parts, you’re not rushed to make sure everything is happening at once and I had time to make and eat dinner between the mousse setting in the freezer for a while and whipping together the ganache.

I wouldn’t say this is easy for the absolute beginner, but if you’re looking for a recipe with impressive results that draws on basic techniques, this is a great recipe for you. Plus, if you’re serving it to chocolate lovers, it won’t have to be perfect anyway!