My wife told me this week, “I like this new sweet tooth you’ve developed in your quest for a healthier you :)” This week seems to have been filled with all sorts of great desserts as we celebrate some milestones and prepare for a big event at our church, but I’ve been able to keep sugar consumption under control. This Favorite Things Friday is about a dessert that brings back great memories, the Strawberry Kiss from the Stagecoach Inn Restaurant in Salado, TX.
This past weekend we took a quick trip down to Austin for my cousin’s wedding. It was a beautiful event! On the way home, we stopped with the whole family at the Stagecoach Inn for lunch. My parents have stopped at the Stagecoach Inn since I was a little kid. Salado is a neat little town about an hour north of Austin. There are lots of little shops to explore and the historic Stagecoach Inn and Restaurant.
The Stagecoach Inn Restaurant is an old school dining establishment. There is no menu. The waitresses recite the menu for guests. A meal includes an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. For my selection I had a shrimp cocktail, garden salad, chicken friend steak with creamed corn and mashed potatoes and the Strawberry Kiss. This simple dessert is a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a light and crisp meringue shell, topped with lightly sugared strawberries.
A few years ago I did some exploring and developed my own recipe for the Strawberry Kiss since I couldn’t find one online. This is a fun recipe to make. Here’s my process as it has evolved:
Let’s get started with the meringue crisp shells. I have tried a few recipes, but like a simple one that uses common ingredients. (There is another version that uses cream of tartar but not everyone has that on hand.) Fire up your oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I very lightly wet the baking sheet to get the paper to stay in place. Trace some 2.5″ circles onto the paper – 2″ apart. I use the bottom of a glass for the shape to trace. You will need one small bowl, a mixing bowl and a handheld or stand mixer. Make sure everything is clean as oil or fat residue can keep the meringue from stiffening.
Start with three egg whites. Separating egg whites is pretty easy, just make sure to separate the egg whites one by one into the small bowl in case you rupture the yolk. Once you have a clean egg white, toss it in the mixing bowl and crack another egg. (You can use the egg yolks for homemade mayonnaise or other recipes. I also feed the egg shells to our chickens, makes the shells of their eggs stronger. Waste not!) Some people also say you should let the egg whites stand for an hour to come to room temperature. I haven’t been able to tell a difference either way.
To the egg whites, add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and a dash of salt. Mix all of this together with your handheld or stand mixer. It is time to start adding the sugar, about 1/3 of a cup at a time. Let the sugar mix and dissolve and then add another 1/3 of a cup. Keep mixing until your meringue will hold a stiff peak. What’s a stiff peak? When you pull the mixer out of the meringue, it will form a peak. If it stays in place, instead of oozing back down, you have a stiff peak. In case you’ve never worked with it, meringue is one of the stickiest substances you will ever work with.
Once you have achieved stiff peaks, which can take several minutes of mixing, it is time to transfer some of the meringue to a piping bag (sometimes called a decorating bag). Recently I learned to fold the piping bag over a glass (as pictured) so that I could use both hands to get meringue or icing into the bag. You may already know this, but I thought this was a GENIUS tip! (And yes, that is Wylie Coyote on my glass in the photo.)
On your parchment paper, start piping the meringue from the center of the circle out. Once you reach the edge of the circle, start working your way up. I usually make 2 or 3 rounds up, whatever your meringue will allow. If your meringue didn’t get stiff enough, the walls of your shells might start slumping over on you. You can put the piping bag in the fridge for a few minutes to stiffen things up a bit. If the walls of your shell slump over, don’t worry. It still tastes great 🙂 Remember that the meringue expands in the oven. Your 2.5″ shell will be about 3.5″ to 4″ when it comes out of the oven.
Speaking of the oven, it is time to get the meringue shells into the oven. I usually get 8-10 shells out of this recipe. Pop the pan or pans into the oven. They will stay in there at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. They will start to brown very, very slightly as they approach being done. When the timer goes off, I turn off the oven and leave the shells in the oven another 30 minutes to let them get extra crisp and light. Carefully remove shells from the parchment paper and either use immediately or store in an airtight container.
The rest of the process is easy. Get a nice scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla or your favorite ice cream and place it on top of the shell. I topped it all with some strawberries that I sliced up, lightly sugared. The end result is a pretty close copy of the original. The best part, I can enjoy my Strawberry Kiss anytime I like. Make sure to scroll on down for a printable recipe card. And if you liked this post, show me some love and use the share tabs to share this on Facebook, Twitter or email.