One of the most spectacular desserts in any cuisine, the Spanische Windtorte is a rococo meringue drum filled with berries and cream.
The keys to a successful Windtorte are a bit of organization and long, slow baking. On paper, it looks like the torte will take four hours to prepare but almost all of that time is spent in the oven. The first rule is never make meringue on a rainy or humid day. The meringue attracts the moisture in the air and will never dry properly.
Use an oven thermometer to ensure the proper low temperature. It is better to have the oven too low than too high. Do not be tempted to raise the oven temperature to speed things along or the meringue will crack and color beyond the correct very pale beige. To be sure the oven temperature remains low, open the oven door a few times during baking for 30 seconds, being careful not to slam the door. If you insist on a pristine, white Windtorte, you must have a very well calibrated oven that will maintain a steady 170°F, but most ovens don’t go that low. If you go this route, increase the baking times by one fourth. Read all of the information about egg whites before you proceed.
To construct the meringue bases, you will need pastry tips with 1/16- to ½-inch openings (one plain and one open-star), a large pastry bag (at least i4 inches long), two i8 X i3-inch (halfsheet) baking pans, and parchment paper. The meringue cake can be prepared one day ahead, but fill it just before serving so the shell remains nice and crisp.
Other berries can be used in addition to, or in place of, the strawberries. During berry season, a combination of red and golden raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries is especially luxurious. Maraschino liqueur has a unique flavor that elevates the filling to the same level as the meringue. Kirschwasser, a stronger cherry liqueur, would also be appropriate, as would Cognac or Grand Marnier.
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