Happy birthday to my mom, Gloria. She used to make us Schaum Tortes.
Googling around, I had a laugh reading, “Unless you’re from Wisconsin, you won’t know what a Schaum Torte is.” I’m a native Californian who ate a lot of ‘em but that makes sense… both my folks are from Wisconsin. Mom, a Kewaunee farm girl, hit sunny LA as a lanky young beauty and working gal. She, her sister and finally their mom settled in happen’ Hollywood. Marriage and five daughters ensued; she’s worked just about all her life, still does. That didn’t leave much time or energy to be a Julia Child-wannabe. Key to my mom’s cooking: efficiency and economy.
Mom made plenty of Schaum Tortes during our Strawberry Field Free Grab episode. Cheap, easy to prepare and really sweet, this was a miracle recipe. Martha Stewart Magazine calls these delicate, airy treats Meringues. Elsewhere, when called Pavlova, the whole recipe is made as one big one. Top with wonderful things, chop into portions and yum.
Schaum Tortes are individual (maybe Wisconsonians also make one honkin’ Schaum, not sure). If you can whip eggs to a froth, you’ve got it down. Shape them into serving vessels, bake, cool, then spoon on fruit, jam, ice cream, fudge sauce, whipped cream or a combo of those.
TIP: When you separate your eggs, watch that not even a speck of yolk gets in there. You also need a super clean mixing bowl. Even the tiniest bit of fat will prevent your egg whites from whipping up properly.
Wisconsin Schaum Tortes
6 egg whites
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and vinegar, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add vanilla and sugar a little at a time, beating on high speed until very stiff peaks form. Make twelve tortes on greased and floured cookie sheets (I use Bakers Joy) using the back of the spoon to build up sides and dent the middle.
Bake for 50 minutes. Then turn off the oven, leave undisturbed and allow meringues to sit with the door closed for 1 more hour. Loosen tortes from cookie sheets before they are cold. Makes 12.