“It’s the meringues that stop the traffic!” Independent
For my cooking club dinner we were all cooking from Ottolenghi The Cookbook on Wednesday.
I decided to make their meringues – they seem so iconic – an embodiment of Ottolenghi. In the book they write “If you ask someone if they’ve heard of Ottolenghi, the answer is often, “Yes, I know, it’s the place with the meringues.”
I adapted the pistachio and rosewater recipe from the book to make almond meringues.
You will need an electric mixer for the 10 egg whites that need whisking for at least 10 minutes.
You will also need an electric scales – not only does this make cooking from UK recipe books a walk in the park it also means your baking will be more accurate. Measuring using volume – the American system of cups – sets you up to fail even if you are super careful – whereas measuring by weight – the British way of doing things – will lead to perfect baked goodies everytime.
Rock Star Almond Meringues
Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook
The joy of these creations is not just that they are super sized show stoppers so perfect to impress you dinner party friends – but they can be prepared ahead of time so you will have more time to party!
600g Bakers sugar
300g free-range organic egg whites (approx 10)
1 tsp almond extract
40g pistachio nuts finely ground
40g almond slices
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spread the sugar evenly on two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place the trays of sugar in the oven.
2. Place the egg whites in the Kitchen Aid mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. After the sugar has been in the oven for about 7 minutes whisk the eggs on high speed for about a minute until the whites are beginning to froth up.
3. After about 8 minutes the sugar is hot and the edges are beginning to dissolve and brown. Remove from the oven and turn temperature down to 230F. It is really important to have hot sugar to add to the egg whites – if the sugar isn’t hot enough the sugar won’t dissolve and you will end up with gritty meringues.
4. Carefully pour the hot sugar in to the whisking egg whites and return the clean parchment paper to the trays.
5. When all the sugar is combined with the egg whites add the almond extract and continue whisking on high speed for 10 minutes or until the meringue is cold. The meringue should keep its shape when a bit is lifted out of the bowl and should be homogenously silky.
6. Spread the ground pistachios on a flat plate. Using 2 large spoons, scoop up a big dollop of meringue mixture with one spoon – the size of a medium apple and roll this is the pistachios to cover one side. Use the other spoon to scrape the nut covered meringue off on to the parchment lined baking tray. Repeat to make more meringues, spacing them well apart on the tray. For the second tray, don’t roll in pistachios but place the meringues directly onto the parchment paper and scatter with sliced almonds. Minty prefers her meringues dusted in cocoa powder and no nuts.
7. Place in the oven (230F) for about 2 hours. When they are done they will lift off the tray, the outside will be firm and the inside still a little soft. Turn off the heat and leave to cool in the oven. This prevents the meringues from cracking as they cool.
8. Store at room temperature in a dry place.