The only thing Spanish about this recipe for Spanish Wind Cake -- Spanische Windtorte -- is its name. It dates to the Baroque period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the nobility's fascination with Spanish culture.
It's an elegant dessert shell made of meringue, and filled with whipped creamand and berries. Fancy piping isn't necessary. The meringue shell can be made simply and decorated with purchased icing flowers. It's best to make any meringue dessert when the humidity is low or in an air-conditioned kitchen.
Makes 1 (8-inch) Spanish Windtorte
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
- 8 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 1/2 cups superfine sugar (don't use granulated sugar)
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar (don't use granulated sugar)
- Premade icing flowers (optional)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup cognac or Cointreau (optional)
- 4 cups washed and hulled small strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries
- To Make the Shell: Place rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200 degrees. Place parchment paper on three large baking sheets. Coat them lightly with vegetable spray and dust with flour, spreading from side to side to cover completely, and then tapping off the excess.
- Invert an 8-inch-round baking pan on one side of one of the floured pans and pat it lightly so it leaves a ring impression. Repeat on the other side, without letting rings touch. Make two more ring guidelines on one of the other pans, and one ring on the remaining pan. You should have five guideline rings in all.
- In a large bowl or a stand mixer with the wire whisk, beat 8 egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Then, gradually beat in 2 1/2 cups superfine sugar , beating 5 to 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a plain pastry tip and fill the bag with the meringue. Pipe a 3/4-inch thick circle inside one of the rings on the baking sheet and continue spiraling until the entire ring is filled. Repeat on the other side with the second ring. Using a spatula, smooth the surface. Bake 45 minutes or until dry. Do not let them brown. It's OK if the bottoms brown a bit, but not the tops.
- Repeat the process with the three remaining rings, except don't fill in these circles. When meringues are dry, gently slide them off the baking sheet (the Wilton Cake Lifter is a good tool) to a wire rack to cool completely.
- I recommend constructing the shell on a serving platter that is heatproof to 200 degrees, so you don't have to transfer the torte once it's assembled because it's very fragile.
- Place one of the filled-in circles on the center of the platter. Pipe 8 dabs of meringue spaced evenly around the edge of the circle and "glue" on one of the open rings. Continue with the 2 other open rings. Let it dry in the oven for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
- To Decorate: Meanwhile, prepare the decoration meringue using 4 egg whites, cream of tartar and superfine sugar in the same way the shell meringue was made. The other filled-in circle, which will become the top, can be decorated with shells and rosettes (or left plain) and dried in the oven for 20 minutes or until no longer tacky. Cool completely.
- Decorate the sides of the cake with shells and rosettes, if desired, and dry in the oven for 20 minutes or until no longer tacky. Cool completely.
- Apply premade icing flowers or candied violets with a dab of meringue to the sides of the cake (and the top, if desired). The meringue shell will be much harder than the type on lemon meringue pie, for example, and some cracking is to be expected.
- To Make the Filling: In a large bowl or stand mixer, whip the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar until it starts to thicken. Add the liquor, if using, and whip hard to compensate for any moisture from the berries. Fold in the berries and fill the meringue shell. Place the top on and serve immediately.
- When ready to serve, remove the top and slice pieces as you would for a cake. The meringue will probably splinter, but that, also, is to be expected
By Barbara Rolek, About.com