Asking yourself “What is Schaum Torte?” Well, my Aunt Vi, who was the best cook in our family, called it Schaum Torte. You may know it as “Pavlova” or simply “meringue shells”. At any rate, whatever you call it, it became a family tradition to serve Schaum Torte on Easter and Mother’s Day. For years I’ve tried to make Vi’s recipe with little success. Then I discovered the key. Patience!!! I’ve always tried to whip up the egg whites, throw in the sugar and be done. It doesn’t work that way.
Steps to Perfect Pavlova (aka Schaum Torte)
Bring your egg whites to room temp. and of course, be very careful when separating whites from yolks. Even a little bit of yolk will ruin your entire batch. (If you find that happens, stop! Make an omelet for dinner and start over with the egg white separation)
Start beating your egg whites and slowly increase the speed of your mixer to “full speed ahead”. Then start adding the sugar, into which you’ve mixed the cornstarch, ONE TABLESPOON at a time. Yep, this is the patience part. It’ll take you at least 10 minutes to combine the sugar, but the meringue should not be grainy... test by rubbing between thumb and finger – if it feels sandy, the sugar has not fully been dissolved.
Add the vinegar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Aunt Vi would just smooth the meringue in a pan but I’ve tried a couple of different serving ideas. First and foremost, cover your large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or simply use a brown paper bag, turned inside out, to line the cookie sheet.
To “serve and slice”, place all of the meringue in the center of the cookie sheet and smooth with an offset spatula to form one big ‘nest’. Or, my personal favorite is individual servings. Using the rim of a 5” bowl, trace 8 circles on the brown paper. Divide the meringue into 8 dollops and make individual nests.
Bake in a very slow oven 275 degrees for 50-60 minutes; then turn off the oven and forget about the shells until you’re ready to serve (at least 1 hour, but I left mine in the oven overnight). Vi would stem strawberries and sugar them, then using a fork, would pierce the berries to combine the natural strawberry sweet juices with the sugar (in the ‘Foodie World’ I believe they call that macerate).
Set the berries aside for a while.
When ready to serve, dollop a big scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle of the billowy, chewy Schaum Torte, spoon over the berries…then top with sweetened whipped cream and just for fun, drizzle with melted Sephra Premium Dark Chocolate.
4 egg whites (remember…room temp.)
1 c. sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place egg whites in large bowl. Combine sugar and cornstarch.
Slowly add sugar mixture as you beat egg whites until stiff and glossy.
Beat in vinegar and vanilla as directed above and choose your serving preference.
One large or 8 small servings. Enjoy!