If you have done any amount of baking, you have run into those recipes that call for a separated eggs-either just the yolk or just the whites and you are left with a bowl of the other and no use in sight. It seems like a shame to waste them, really....OH WAIT!!! IT IS A SHAME TO WASTE THEM. Freeze them. Seriously. In corporate bakeries, we order in cases of separated eggs all the time for meringues, macaroons, eclairs, custards pies and all kinds of good stuff. Usually, they come in a carton and are thawed over night in a cooler. Totally handy if you're in need of 5 cups of yolks stat (you don't seriously think someone is cracking and separating those in the corner somewhere, do you? okay, well, yes, it has happened -but that's usually due to a lack of forethought on somebody's part.
Anyways....same technique works at home. Freeze your yolks and whites in some small tupperware and you can thaw them for use later. And don't be tempted to keep them all in a large container. That's not a "usable" form. Keep them in batches of two's or 4's so you can pull what you need--and, also, so you can keep track of how many are actually in that container....."oh, I think there are 27 whites in here? I need 4....hmmm"
I like using the little containers from a certain baby food company.
Today, we'll be using the whites of an egg. Tomorrow, the yolks.
If you are thinking ahead, you can pull the containers you need the night before and thaw them overnight. If you forget and have that "Oh crap!" moment, just put the container in a sink of cold water and let them come up to temp. Whites whip up better when they are warmer (and older by the way) anyways.
Today's recipe is a very basic (but I find essential) Angel Food Cake. Sure, you could buy one of those Wal-Mart one's for a bit of nothing but you won't have nearly as much satisfaction serving it to those you love.....and besides, everyone should know how easy it is to make one of these.
You'll need the following:
A tube pan, that you have most decidedly not sprayed with anything Spray that pan, child, and you might as well pack it in for the day because that cake's going no-where.( "Where you going? No-where."--sorry, little Boondock Saints reference there.) You need the cake to have friction with the sides of the pan to keep it from collapsing.
A mixer, ready to whisk.
An oven that is preheated to 325.
A rubber spatula
The following ingredients:
12 whites, room temp. and in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl (for the same reason you don't spray the pan-you need the friction)
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla (almond if you prefer
Begin whisking the whites until they look frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking on high until the whites turn, well, white. Then gradually add in the sugar while the mixer is still whisking. Then add your extract.Beat until the whites form a "stiff peak" and are still glossy. If you beat your whites too much, two things will happen: they will start to look kinda grainy and then they will collapse and you will have to start over with new whites. Turn off the mixer and grab that spatula.
1 cup of cake flour
3/4 cup of confectioners sugar sift these three together (DO IT!)
1 /4 tsp salt
Add about half of this dry mix to the whites and fold it in with the spatula. The spatula carries the dry ingredients in, down and over the whites without destroying all the pretty fluffiness you worked so hard to create. Be gentle. And you don't have to completely incorporate the dry in before adding the remainder. Fold in the second half of the dry and fold again. This time, try to have all the dry folded in but don't mix too long.
Pour all this into your tube pan and level out with the spatula so it has a flat top (later to be the bottom).
Into the oven it goes and your timer is set for 40-45 minutes.
Test your Angel food by first looking for a nice, even golden color and a clean knife or toothpick that has been inserted and removed.
Easy right? It is. Now for the fineprint. You can't just leave an Angel Food on a cooling rack. You have to invert it to cool it properly (or again with the flatness). Some pans come with three or four prongy-thingies sticking up off the edge of the pan--those are for cooling it. Mine--while a very nice pan--does not have those. So I simple put mine upside down on the top of a spray can.....the old recipes always talk about how you can just flip these over a wine bottle and let it cool. I have YET to find such a wine bottle that fits into the hole on the top of my tube pan (and I've tried alot of wine).
Cool the cake completely before removing it from the pan, using a sharp long knife to go around the edges.
TA-DA! Take a bow. You made an Angel Food Cake. And it's bigger and better than those crappy, greasy ones from the store that they mass-produce every summer for strawberry shortcake (...which is stupid because Angle Food isn't shortcake but that's a rant for another time).