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Category Archives: Meringue

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Chocolate Almond Meringues

I’ve not blogged for a while, but it’s not for lack of baking, just lots of other things going on that have kept me from the keyboard. Hopefully I’ll be able to get lots of recipes added in a short space of time to make up for it.

To kick things off, here are some lovely meringues I made when I was cooking dinner for friends recently. I served them with good vanilla ice cream, warm mixed berries (just a bag of frozen ones from the supermarket, heated through with a couple of tablespoons of sugar), salted caramel sauce and chocolate hazelnut sauce. Meringues are great for entertaining as you can make them several days in advance and (once cooled) store them in an air tight container or tin.

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 30g dark chocolate, finely grated
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar, but white wine or sherry vinegar would be fine)
  • 100g flaked almonds, toasted

Heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper (when the meringue is made, used little blobs of it to secure the paper to the baking trays). Using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until you get to the stiff peak stage. Still whisking, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, allowing the sugar to get completely incorporated before adding more. Continue to whisk until all the sugar is mixed in and the meringue is white and glossy.

Add the cocoa and dark chocolate, folding in with either a rubber spatula or large metal spoon. DO NOT use a wooden spoon or other blunt kitchen tool as you’ll lose too much of the air you’ve spent so long adding. You can be quite swift and firm when folding in, but make sure you don’t leave any pockets of dry ingredient unmixed. Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and toasted almonds and fold these through. Dollop mounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between as they will spread and settle a little.

Pillowy mounds of glossy meringue

Pillowy mounds of glossy meringue

Place the meringues in the oven and turn the temperature down immediately to 150C. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The meringues will be crisp on the outside, possibly even a little cracked, with a chewy, marshmallowy middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and use the same day, or you can store them in an airtight (and completely dry) container for 3 or 4 days.

Crisp outer shell with a chewy, marshmallowy centre

Crisp outer shell with a chewy, marshmallowy centre

To make an easy chocolate sauce, heat 300ml double cream to just below boiling, break in 150g milk chocolate (or a mix of milk and plain) and stir until melted. Add a tiny pinch of salt and, if you have it, a tablespoon or two of liqueur (I used hazelnut, but orange, mint, brandy or Baileys would all be perfect). Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour over almost anything for instant deliciousness!

If you want to make your own salted caramel sauce, I swear by Nigella Lawson’s recipe and you can find it here. And if you want more meringue goodness, take a look at my other recipes.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade; light, luscious, sweet and sharp

My best friend loves lemon, particularly lemon curd. For our pre-Christmas get-together I decided to make a dessert with some lemon curd; something a bit sharp and zingy to liven up the taste buds when all around is super-stodgy, rich and spicy. I decided on roulade as, though it’s filled with cream, the sweet meringue is light and fluffy inside and the perfect foil to the tart lemon and raspberries. I was incredibly pleased with how this turned out – it’s easily as good as any luxury dessert you’d get at a supermarket – it’d be a brilliant centrepiece pud for a New Year’s celebration.

If you wanted, you could use ready made lemon curd, but make sure it’s the best quality you can afford, made with real lemons, eggs and butter and not full of additives and setting agents. However, making the curd is actually quite simple, gives you a great sense of satisfaction, and there’s plenty left over for toast (or give it as a gift in a pretty jar).

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

For the lemon curd: (I followed a Nigel Slater recipe)

  • 4 lemons, preferably unwaxed
  • 200g sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 3 eggs and 1 yolk (save the spare white for your meringue)

In a heat proof bowl, over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) combine the finely grated zest and juice of the lemons with the sugar and butter, stirring until everything has melted.

Give the eggs and extra yolk a little whisk to mix, then add to the lemon mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or whisk frequently until the mixture thickens. It’ll feel heavier and be the consistency of custard. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for several hours or overnight (if you’re planning on giving some as gifts then put it in sterilised jam jars at this stage, whilst it’s still hot –  you’ll get a couple of small jars worth with enough left over to make the roulade)

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
  • a little icing sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 150C and grease and line a Swiss roll tin or high sided baking sheet (approx 23 x 33cm) with greaseproof paper. Now, to make your meringue it’s really important your bowl is scrupulously clean – if possible use a glass or metal bowl and wipe round the inside with the cut side of half a lemon or a paper towel with a little vinegar on; this should get rid of any grease. Put your egg whites in the bowl and whisk until you get to the stiff peaks stage. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Sprinkle over the corn flour and vinegar and give one last short whisk until everything is combined and glossy. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared tin, smoothing into the corners with a spatula and trying to get a flat, even surface. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the surface of the meringue is just firm. Remove from the oven, let it cool for about ten minutes. Lay a sheet of greaseproof on a board and dust with icing sugar. Once the meringue has cooled a little turn it out onto the board and carefully remove the greaseproof from the base and leave to cool while you assemble the filling.

For the filling:

  • Approx 200ml lemon curd
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 150g raspberries

In a large bowl, whip the cream with the icing sugar until thick – it should cling to the whisk but drop off easily if the whisk is tapped on the side of the bowl. It’s easy to over-whisk cream if you do it with an electric whisk or stand mixer so keep a close eye on it if you use a machine. It doesn’t take long to do with a balloon whisk and a few minutes whisking shouldn’t be too much work for most people. Once it’s the desired consistency, add six tablespoons of the lemon curd and mix well.

Use a spatula to smooth the cream mixture over the cooled meringue, trying to make an even layer and leaving a border of about 1 cm around the edge. Slather with the remaining lemon curd and then scatter with the raspberries. Now for the roll!

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

With the shortest end of the meringue facing you, roll it away, folding over and using the greaseproof paper to try and keep the roll compact. Once it’s fully rolled, place on a serving plate with the fold underneath. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving as this will help it firm up before you slice into it. It looks beautiful when cut, with swirls of snowy white interspersed with sunny yellow curd and ruby red raspberries. Luscious!

If you love a roulade, take a look at another recipe here, or if lemon meringue pushes all the right buttons how about some blondies or cupcakes?

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes – a lovely cakey version of the classic dessert

I wouldn’t normally post two cupcake recipes back-to-back, but as it’s been National Cupcake Week I asked people on my Facebook page to tell me what their favourite flavour of cupcake is. I got some great responses but the one that really sparked my imagination was lemon meringue flavour. I already had some egg whites in the freezer, left over from making my Apple Pie with Orange Pastry so I decided to give these a go and try making Italian Meringue for the first time. I’m really pleased with how these turned out, and although making the meringue does mean you need a food thermometer, it was actually much easier than I thought.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • half tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 170C and line a muffin pan with paper cases. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and beat again until well combined. Add the flour and baking powder and give it a good mix, then add the finely grated zest of both lemons and juice of just one, plus the vanilla and milk; mix it all together and then use a couple of spoons (or an ice cream scoop for perfectly portioned cupcakes) to dollop the mix into the cases until about two thirds full (I got 10 well-filled cupcakes from this amount, but you could certainly make a dozen, slightly smaller ones). Bake for about 20 minutes – they’re done when they’re golden, spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip or a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and take them out of the tray as soon as possible to prevent the cupcake cases peeling away as they cool.

For the filling/meringue topping:

  • about 4 tbsp lemon curd
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 35/40ml water

Once the cupcake are cooled, make little holes in the centre to about half way down the cake; this can be easily done with a teaspoon and doesn’t need to be neat and tidy, but you can buy things called cupcake corers from baking shops if you feel so inclined! Set to one side.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes – pre-meringue

Naked Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, filled with lemon curd and awaiting their meringue topping

To make the Italian meringue (a meringue made with hot sugar syrup so that it doesn’t need baking), whisk the egg whites in a large (scrupulously clean) bowl until they form soft peaks. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil until it reaches 121C. Now quickly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream, whisking all the time. Continue to whisk the meringue until it becomes quite cool – this will take a little time. Once cooled, you can either pipe the meringue onto the cake with a piping bag, or mound it on with a palatte knife and then make little peaks with it. If you’re a fancy pants, you may have a little blow torch that I should think you can brown the meringue with, being careful not to set light to the paper cases. If you’re not in the habit of buying all kinds of kitchen gadgetry, just whack your grill on to a high heat and put the cupcakes under the grill for a few minutes until the meringue looks toasted. Whatever you do, don’t wander off! It only takes a few minutes from start to finish, but the difference between lightly browned and burned takes a few seconds so keep and eye on them at all times. Let them cool completely again before serving. A lovely little cakey version of a classic dessert.

Lemon Meringue Cupcake

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes – light, sweet and tangy

These are best the day they’re made, purely because them meringue becomes less stable after a while. You could always make the cupcakes a day ahead and finish them off with the meringue the day you need them.

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Lemon Meringue Blondies

I know, I know; I’ve been using lemon in my bakes a lot recently. But it’s so gloriously hot and they lend such sunshine bright flavour that I just can’t help myself. So here’s my latest lemony lip-smacker – a spongy, gooey, chewy delight that isn’t too heavy in this heat.

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter (plus a little for greasing)
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 lemons
  • 40g ready made meringue (I used shop bought mini meringues)
  • 3 tbsp lemon curd

Heat the oven to 170C and butter and line a tin (approx 25x22cm) with greaseproof paper. Gently melt the butter in medium saucepan (you don’t want it to brown, just to become liquid). Turn off the heat and add 100g of the white chocolate and stir until melted.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour and the melted butter/chocolate and fold in until well combined. Add the vanilla and finely grated zest and juice of the lemons and stir through. Chop the remaining 100g white chocolate into chunks, crumble the meringue and scatter both over the batter, giving a final stir before tipping the whole mixture into the prepared tin. Dollop the lemon curd on top in a few places then ripple through the uncooked blondie with a skewer or the end of a teaspoon.

I baked this for 50 minutes, but I covered it with foil after half an hour to stop it from browning too far. The top should crack, like a brownie does, and it should feel firm but with a little give as it should be very moist inside – a skewer inserted should come out mostly clean with just a little goo. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, uncovered, before cutting into portions to serve.

Snickers Pavlova with Nutella Cream

Snickers Pavlova with Nutella Cream

Indulgent pavlova topped with Nutella Cream and chopped Snickers bars

Pavlova is always an impressive dessert, and the good news is that they should look a little imperfect, so no need for fancy decorating or piping skills! There’s also not much skill involved, other than a lot of whisking, but if you have an electric hand whisk or stand mixer then it only takes a few minutes. I’ve used chopped up Snickers bars to top this pavlova because the nutty crunch works well the other textures here; smooth Nutella cream and the crisp outer and marshmallowy centre of the meringue. You could easily substitute another favourite chocolate treat – Crunchie, Malteasers or something with a caramel centre would all work well.

Snickers Pavlova with Nutella Cream

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine or cider vinegar

Heat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a clean glass or metal bowl (wipe the inside with the cut half of a lemon or a little vinegar to ensure it’s grease-free) whisk the egg whites until opaque white, fluffy and you can make stiff peaks with them. Slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, still whisking all the while and making sure each spoon of sugar is fully whisked in before you add the next. Once all the sugar is incorporated you should have smooth, glossy whites. Sprinkle the cornflour and vinegar over the meringue and give a final whisk to ensure well blended.

Use a little blob of the meringue on the underside of your greaseproof paper to help it stick to the baking tray. With a spatula, make a large disk of meringue on the baking tray, approximately  9″ in diameter (you can draw a circle on the underside of the baking paper if you want to be precise). Pile all the meringue on the circle and smooth it as best you can until you have a crown-like dome. Put the meringue in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 150C. Bake for an hour – the meringue should be pale golden and firm to the touch after this time (don’t worry if there are a few cracks) – then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to cool completely.

For the topping:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g Nutella (or other hazelnut chocolate spread)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Snickers bars

In a bowl, whisk the cream, Nutella and vanilla until luxuriously thick – it should cling to the whisk but drop off when given a sharp tap on the side of the bowl. Chop the Snickers bars into little chunks. I all honesty, I used about 1 and a half bars, so it doesn’t matter if a few chunks go astray!

Remove the cooled meringue (which may well have cracks in now it’s cooled, but that’s a good thing) from the greaseproof paper and put it on a serving plate. Pile the Nutella cream on to the centre of the meringue and scatter the Snickers pieces all over the top. Chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving.

Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

Creamy Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

I’m heading to a friend’s for dinner this evening and volunteered to bring dessert. There are some lovely British strawberries in the shops now and the weather is glorious so I wanted to make something really fresh and summery. The addition of salted caramel sauce (I’ve used Nigella Lawson’s recipe) is just a little extra indulgence of my own obsession (I’ve already told you how much I love the stuff in my Upside Down Apple and Caramel Cake recipe)!

Strawberry Roulade with Salted Caramel Sauce

For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Melt the butter, sugars and syrup in a saucepan giving them a bit of a swirl every now and again. Simmer for about three minutes. Add the cream and HALF the salt and stir everything together. Taste a little of the sauce (be careful not to burn your tongue) to see if it’s salty enough for you and add more of the salt if you think it needs it (I like mine salty but it’s all down to preference). Bear in mind that when the sauce is cool it won’t taste as sweet or salty as when it’s warm. Once you’re satisfied with it, leave to cool.

For the roulade:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • 250g double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 250g strawberries

Heat the oven to 150C and grease and line a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin or high sided baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Now, to make your meringue it’s really important your bowl is scrupulously clean – if possible use a glass or metal bowl and wipe round the inside with the cut side of half a lemon or a paper towel with a little vinegar on; this should get rid of any grease. Put your egg whites in the bowl and whisk until you get to the stiff peaks stage. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Sprinkle over the corn flour and vinegar and give one last short whisk until everything is combined and glossy. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared tin, smoothing into the corners with a spatula and trying to get a flat, even surface. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the surface of the meringue is just firm. Remove from the oven, let it cool for about ten minutes. Lay a sheet of greaseproof on a board and dust with icing sugar. Once the meringue has cooled a little turn it out onto the board and carefully remove the greaseproof from the base and leave to cool while you assemble the filling.

Remove the stalks and chop your strawberries into small chunks; set to one side until needed. In a large bowl, whip together the cream, icing sugar (sifted) and vanilla. I recommend using a hand whisk; it really doesn’t take that long and it’s so easy to over-whip with an electric whisk and end up verging on butter. You’re aiming for cream that holds the whisk, but easily plops off with a tap on the side of the bowl. You’re now ready to turn this all into a roulade!

Slather the cream over the meringue, then sprinkle/spread the chopped strawberries over the cream. Using a teaspoon, drizzle a little (about 2 tablespoons) of the salted caramel sauce over the top. With the shortest end of the meringue facing you, roll it away, folding over and using the greaseproof paper to try and keep the roll compact. Once it’s fully rolled, place on a serving plate with the fold underneath. Serve with the remaining salted caramel sauce for your guests to drizzle over their slice of lusciousness at will!

You can keep any left over salted caramel sauce in the fridge for a week or so. It’s great on loads of things – try with vanilla ice cream, a baked apple or a warm chocolate brownie.