Bren from Green Bay, WI (2017 Week 10: The Final)




Green Bay, WI

Baking Challenge

Family-sized Filled Meringue Crown

Give your creation a name based on the flavors and decoration – and tell us about your recipe.

My summer baking at Heritage Hill was finished last week so my creation for the final was baked in my modern kitchen. I began with a meringue recipe from Betty Crocker. Ms. Crocker recommended the addition of grated dark chocolate to the 4 layers of meringue. This created a richness in flavor that offset the sweetness. For my fillings, I went without a recipe and I included two layers in between each layer of meringue. First, over each meringue, I spread my hand picked, home made, wild blackberry jelly. Because they were wild blackberries, they were not as sweet as cultivated berries, so they had a tangy, full flavor which again offset the sweetness of the meringue. On top of the blackberry jelly, I spread a whipped cream filling that had powdered dark chocolate beaten into it. When assembled, the total dessert created a delightful combination of flavors that pleased the palates of all of my taste testers. For garnish I added purchased blackberries and nasturtium flowers that I grew in my garden. The flowers were completely edible, though, my testers were reluctant to try them. I also sprinkled more bits of chocolate over the top before I added the flowers.

What was your favorite thing about The Great Wisconsin Baking challenge overall (whether you participated in one or all challenges)? What did you learn from this final challenge? What are you most proud of when it comes to your bake?

Because I did most of my baking in the 1905 Belgian Farmhouse at Heritage Hill my favorite thing about The Great Wisconsin Baking challenge was that it really inspired me to research recipes and techniques for baking done around 1900. I learned so many things about historic daily living and baking in rural Wisconsin at that time. It was fun to look at historic recipes and see how they are different from modern day. It was also interesting to learn some of the nuances of baking with a wood stove. Anyone can stoke the fire with wood, however, I learned that not only does the amount of wood make a difference, but they type of wood and when it is added, all affects the final products. With my final challenge being baked in my modern kitchen, it reminded me of how much easier it is to bake today. With modern conveniences such as an electric mixer to beat the egg whites, an oven which heats to a precise temperatures in 15 minutes, a refrigerator to keep the ingredients cold and running hot tap water to clean up, I really developed a healthy respect for the talents of our grandmothers. As part of this challenge, I am proud the fact that I learned so much and was able to share it with so many people that visited Heritage Hill this summer. Our future is so much brighter when we shine a light on our past. Thanks to everyone at WPT that was involved in creating and sponsoring the challenge!

Did you incorporate three local ingredients into your Final creation? Tell us about your Wisconsin twist!

I used three local ingredients for this challenge. The eggs that I used came from a Wisconsin farm, the blackberry jelly was made by me from wild blackberries grown in northeast Wisconsin and the flowers that I used were grown in my own backyard garden. So this crown, rather than being suited for British Royalty, may be better suited for Wisconsin perched atop the state capitol building.

How did you do?

Absolutely lovely.