A very quick post, with a very clear intention: wish a HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY to me (I wish it to myself, 'cause you never know)! Oh, yes, I fall into the birthday's post cliche, too, but I won't keep going (at myself, of course) stating my desperation for the advancing age (but the age advances, though) or describing everything that I prepared for the celebrations in my honour. Well, actually I didn't prepare anything, there was no special celebration, I refused to cook, at least on my birthday (what the heck!).

But, for my non-birthday (aka birthday celebrated in advance), I prepared this meringue pie in the cup (sort of), which had some success .. why did I prepare meringue pie for my non-birthday, when I don't go crazy for meringue? This remains a mystery to solve. But that's another story, which I think has something to do with mental tares I mentioned in my previous post … look on the bright side, at least I didn't turn on the oven!

MERINGUE PIE IN A CUP

Ingredients (5 cups)

* at least 100 g meringue (I used less, and you couldn't actually taste the meringue in the cream; obviously you can use more)

* 500 ml milk

* a vanilla bean

* 4 egg yolks

* 120 g sugar

* 40 g cornstarch

* 400 ml whipping cream

Procedure

First of all prepare the custard (I followed Tuki's recipe). Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the vanilla bean cut in half length-wise and bring it almost to a boil. Meanwhile beat the egg yolks with sugar, without over working the mixture (I used a whisk), add the sifted cornstarch and mix everything carefully. Remove milk from heat before it reaches a boil and pour it little by little on the egg yolks mixture, stirring quickly and constantly, to temper the eggs. Put everything in the pot on a low fire. Then, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon, let the cream cook, until it reaches the right texture. Once the cream is ready, pour it immediately into a glass bowl and stir it to lower the temperature (otherwise it'll continue cooking). Let the cream cool down, stirring it from time to time, and put cling film on the cream, to avoid a pellicle forming on it. Let cool in refrigerator or at room temperature.

When the cream is cold, you can whip the cream to make the chantilly cream (which I should properly call diplomatic cream, but it's a rhetorical finesse): whip the cream with 3-4 tablespoons of sugar until stiff. Mix half of the whipped cream a little at a time into the custard, stirring from the bottom up (so you don't deflate the mixture).

Coarsely crush the meringues, and put a part of them (as much as you wish) into the chantilly cream (stirring from the bottom up).

Now you are ready to prepare the cups. I made these layers (but of course you can change them as you please): crumbled meringue, chantilly cream, crumbled meringue, whipped cream (the half you left aside) and I finished with crumbled meringue (and I could have added some grated dark chocolate).

Once you have your cups, cover them with cling film and leave them to rest in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before serving them.

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