Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beautiful, Gushy, Crisp Meringues

 There is nothing more luxurious, sexy and luscious than silky, perfect meringues. They are lovely to look at and even lovelier to eat. I suppose that meringues may be one of those desserts that people might avoid because they assume that they are tricky to make. But, it's so worth the try, because if you master meringues, you master meringues... And, I mastered them on the first try, so why couldn't you? I love that meringues don't have to look perfectly shaped or structured, the beauty lies in their imperfections. I like to make really big, shiny meringues because they remind me of over-the-top marvelous jewels. They can be topped with shaved chocolate or a variety of chopped nuts, but I simply adore this recipe, "Cinnamon and Hazlenut Meringues" which is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Ottolenghi".

Cinnamon & Hazlenut Meringues
Makes about 12 big meringues

7 egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup muscavado sugar (can be found at health food stores)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tablespoons hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a light simmer. Place the egg whites and both sugars in a heatproof bowl large enough to sit on top of the pan. Put it over the simmering water making sure it doesn't actually touch the water, leave it there for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until the sugars dissolve into the egg whites. 
Pour this mixture into a bowl (or the bowl of a free-standing mixer like a Kitchen Aid) and use electric whisks on high speed. Whip for about 8 minutes until the mixture has cooled down completely. When ready, it should be firm and glossy, and keep its shape when you lift a bit with a spoon. 
Sprinkle the cinnamon over the meringue mix and use a spatula to gently fold it in. 
Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Have 2 large spoons ready.
Use one spoon to scoop up a generous spoonful of the meringue and the other to scape this out onto the tray. Leave plenty of room between the meringues, they can almost double in size!
Using the spoons, shape the meringues into dollops, the size of medium apples, and sprinkle with chopped hazlenuts.
Place in the oven and bake for about 1 and 1/2 hours. They will be ready when they are dry underneath and still a little soft in the center.  
Remove from the ovem and let cool. Store in a dry place, not the fridge! Meringues will keep for a few days.

No comments:

Post a Comment