Happy Easter! Joyeuse Pâques! Frohe Ostern!
Easter has so many symbols – crosses, bunnies, eggs, chocolate, hot cross buns, chicks, lambs, bonnets and lilies. Easter to me is about colour – not just the yellow and purple traditionally associated with it. Easter marks the change from the sombre colours of winter to the ever-changing spring colours in hues from pastel to neon bright. Last Easter we had snow and this Easter weekend brings temperatures of +20°C and sunshine.As a little girl, there was the promise of a new outfit complete with lovely new Easter bonnet. Somehow the weather never cooperated in Nova Scotia to be able to wear such an outfit leading me to wonder just where that tradition originated.
In Germany, there is a tradition of hanging coloured eggs from trees. The Easter bunny is also thought to have originated in Germany. As the hare and the rabbit being the most fertile of animals they are therefore the symbol of new life. In Luxembourg, men are waiting to see if the ‘bretzel’ they gave to their sweethearts a couple of weeks ago will be reciprocated with Easter eggs. There are pageants and parades to celebrate Easter.
Easter is rather unique in that the date changes from year to year. In France the school holiday of two weeks can start anywhere from mid-March to end of April. The statutory holiday varies between Friday and/or Monday. On Easter Sunday, children hunt for the hidden dyed and chocolate eggs. We normally buy brown eggs here but this year I spotted some white eggs, which would be more conducive to dying. The grocery stores version of coloured eggs looked gaudy and streaky to me. I think we only got to make dyed eggs one year at Easter as kids but after seeing the beautiful robin’s egg blue dyed eggs on Martha Stewart’s web site I wanted to give them a try, but alas it was too late and all the white eggs were gone.
3 egg whites
185 mL (3/4 cup) sugar
5 mL (1 tsp) white vinegar
250 mL (1 cup) whipping cream (35%)
10 mL (2 tsp) icing sugar
6 strawberries, sliced lengthwise
Preheat oven to 120°C (250°F).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, grease and dust with flour, shaking off excess. Beat egg whites in a small bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; gradually beat in sugar until dissolved. Beat in vinegar. Spread into 6 circles placed 4 cm (1-1/2”) apart on baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until meringues are dry and firm to the touch. Turn oven off and leave to cool in oven with door slightly open. Beat cream and icing sugar together until stiff; spread over meringues, top with sliced strawberries and drizzle with sauce*.
* STRAWBERRY & VIOLET SAUCE:
5 mL (1 tsp) Crèmeux du Vigneron “Violette”** (cassis or other liqueur)
Purée strawberries, strain to remove seeds and mix with the liqueur.