It’s time to share one of my absolute favorite dessert with you, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
I’m going to share a little background here, so if you’d really like to just skip to the nitty-gritty down the page……I was born in Wisconsin and my ancestors were from Ireland and Germany. My grandmother Gladys was the second youngest of 12 children of German immigrants. She sang “Oh Tannenbaum”, said “Gesundheit” and she made the most amazing Schaum Torte. That’s what we called them.
As I grew older I realized there were many names for this crunchy, gooey, sugary goodness. The Germans call them Schaum Torte, while people in other countries called them Meringues or Pavlova. I will use Schaum Tortes and meringues interchangeably throughout the recipe, just FYI.
You can call them whatever you wish, just make them and enjoy them. This dessert is a texture lovers dream! Crunchy on the outside and slightly gooey on the inside, we grew up having them with homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries! Yum! Divine!
Let’s Get Baking!
What I love about making meringues is that most people have all the ingredients in the house. Eggs, sugar, vanilla, cream of tartar, salt. That’s it! Seriously! Go grab all the stuff now! After you’ve made them once, you’ll see how easy it is to make this dessert all year-round.
Eggs: The first thing I learned is to use fresh eggs whites at room temperature. The eggs will froth easier and you will get the most volume to your meringues this way. The eggs will separate easier if you do it when they are cold, so separate the eggs, cover the yolks and stick them in the fridge. I don’t like to waste, so I plan ahead to make something with those yolks. Cover the egg whites and wait until they are room temperature.
Sugar: You’ll see a variety in recipes out there. I also prefer to use Bakers sugar as it is superfine, but granulated sugar works just perfect as well.
Pan Preparation: Now that you have all the ingredients, line your baking pans. You don’t want to skip this step, if you don’t have silicone mats then use parchment paper or do like we did growing up, cut up a paper bag from the grocery store. Aren’t you glad now that we are switching back to paper instead of plastic? Don’t use foil. No matter what people will tell you, the meringues will stick.
Alright, ingredients ready. Check! Pans lined. Check! Preheat the oven. Check! It’s time to make these babies!
A German-inspired dessert with a crisp outside and a marshmallow-like center, perfect for all seasons.
- 6 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250˚F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Using your electric mixer on low-medium speed, beat the egg whites and salt until foamy and soft peaks form, about 50 seconds.
- Continue beating and add, very slowly, 1 cup of sugar and the cream of tartar. The mixture will begin to stiffen more.
- Add the other 1 1/2 cups of sugar, again very slowly, and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form when you lift out the beaters, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is glossy. This may take up to 10 minutes.
- Drop large spoonfuls of meringue onto your lined sheet pans, about 6 per sheet with enough space between for the meringues to expand.
- Place in preheated oven and bake 1 hour, then turn heat off and leave the Schaum Tortes in oven to cool for at least another hour or overnight. Your meringues will be ready when they look dry and can be easily removed from the parchment paper with their bottoms intact.
- Remove and store in an airtight container, or serve with fresh berries or ice cream. Yum!
Alternative: Once your meringue is ready, stir in 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans. Dollop in large tablespoon-sized “cookies” onto your lined sheet pan. Cook at the same temperature and amount of time. These are referred to as Forgotten Cookies in my house and are my husband’s favorite holiday treat from the German side of his family.
Piping vs Spooning: If you want perfect looking Schaum Tortes, you can use a large Wilton 1M tip with a piping bag or cut-off Ziploc bag to make your Schaum Tortes. I don’t expect perfection because my grandmother always just dolloped the meringue and so do I. Occasionally, I will use it to make hearts like in the photos. It really is your choice.
I’d love to hear how yours turn out! Comment and share! I’d absolutely love it if you would follow by clicking on the subscribe button at the top of the page.
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Still wondering what to do with those yolks? You can always make the lemon curd recipe from my Lemon Berry Tart recipe here. Or wait make the egg custard recipe coming up next!