For many people in Slovenia, snowballs are a nostalgic dish that reminds them of grandma’s kitchen from their childhoods.
For me, they have always been a mythical dish my classmates talked about. No one ever made them in my family and, to be fair, they made little sense when described: beaten egg whites cooked in milk and served with custard.
But the time has come to test the recipe and make some notes if things don’t work out as they should.
For the snowballs, we’ll use half of the sugar, egg whites and lemon juice. Beat the egg whites and lemon juice till firm, add sugar and beat some more until it sticks to the sides of the container.
Preheat the milk in a pot or pan until it starts to simmer, then turn down the heat so that the milk doesn’t overflow. Take a spoon and place four spoonful’s of beaten egg whites into milk for 10-20 seconds, then carefully turn around and cook on the other side about the same amount of time. Take them out and repeat until all the snowballs are cooked.
Beat the egg yolks with the remaining ingredients, stir in some cold milk (about 1 dl), then stir this into the milk in which snowballs have been cooked. If there are parts of egg whites floating around, take them out if possible. Stir the mixture over a low heat until it reaches at least 72 degrees Celsius, but do not overheat or lumps will appear. The mixture should thicken slightly but remain runny.
Cool the custard a little then pour either over the snowballs or into a serving bowl and place snowballs on top of it.
So what did I learn in making this dish? First of all, four eggs produce a lot of snowballs. You might try using fewer eggs but the problem is that you’ll need a lot of milk for cooking anyway. You might then decide to ditch some milk or use it all for a very runny custard. Our “solution” to this problem was to overcook half of our snowballs, turning the “fluffy clouds” into not that fluffy flat rubbery sponges, which went straight into the compost bucket. A further experiment showed that they turned out much better if cooked a little less than a bit more. Actually, when you place them into hot milk, they will expand a little, and this is the right time to turn them around.
Secondly, serving them cold is a must. One teenager who volunteered to try the results ate about one quarter (one whole egg with accompanying sugar) warm, and complained about being sick afterwards. Another subject, who ate only one snowball properly cooled down in a tiny bowl said it was delicious. It is not entirely clear, however, how much temperature contributed to the first person’s sickness, but the snowballs do taste better when cold.
Bowl size comparison of both servings:
Consider the full big bowl picture above as a full family meal. A one-person serving should look more like this: