Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nut Snacks: Perfect for the Mad Men Season Premier


Somewhere along the way, perhaps about the time Don and Betty Draper divorced, meringue fell out of favor in American home kitchens.  Judging by the sheer volume of meringue recipes in my vintage recipe collection, it seemed that housewives whipped up meringues on a whim, covering a lemon pie with the confection here or folding it into a custard for a chiffon pie there.  They recognized that meringue brings classic style and panache, elevating baked goods to something a bit more ethereal.  


While meringue is no longer in the repertoire of most home cooks, it is truly easy to prepare -- after all, it's simply whipped egg whites and sugar.  And sometimes, it plays the starring role, as it does in these two-layer nut snacks, a retro dessert and the perfect, period-appropriate treat to enjoy while glued to the much anticipated fifth season of Mad Men.

First, a simple butter crust is pressed into the pan.  Next the meringue -- made with brown sugar, a very unusual addition, and nuts -- is placed on top.


Spread the layer of meringue to cover the entire crust.  Pop it into a 350 degree the oven.


When cool, cut into squares. Serve and enjoy.  And be glad you're not Don or Betty Draper.



Production note: I used an 8 x 8 square pan, though you can use one a bit larger.  Set the oven to 350 degrees, and the whites will whip up with more volume if they're at room temperature.

8 comments:

  1. I'm not sure which I want more: these or the brownies with mocha frosting. I should have some friends over so I can justify both.

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    1. Great idea to make both, but if I had to choose, I'd go with the chocolate for pure decadence reasons. Enjoy, Tugs Girl, and thanks for writing.

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  2. Yes, meringue makes a nice, crispy, light, crackled topping for many desserts. Guess what - the lemon cake pie is in my oven right now! I just picked the last of the lemons off our tree.

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    1. quiltyknitwit -- Wow, so envious that you have lemon trees! How lucky. And please report back about the lemon cake pie.

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  3. Okay, reporting back ... I think I should have baked the lemon cake pie a little longer even though it passed the clean knife test - the texture on top wasn't as dry as I thought it should have been - but my husband & son LOVED it anyway.

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    1. quiltyknitwit: Thanks for the report and glad it was delicious. Next time, perhaps leave it in the oven a bit longer (though I notoriously underbake EVERYTHING).

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  4. I was thinking at first that these were a little dry. But now I can't stop eating them so they must be okay! I think next time I will try shmearing jelly between the meringue and cookie.

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    1. Couldn't stop eating them, either...and couldn't stop saying "Nut Snacks," which is a beautiful phrase. I would have devoured the simple shortbread base alone--the addition of the meringuey nut layer (which I did with combo pecans and walnuts) was amazing. I added a teaspoon of Frangelico to the crust for added rowrbazzle.

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