Monday, 17 August 2015

meringue tops and chocolate sauce



I remember Nigella Lawson saying wittily in one of her TV episodes that adding strawberries makes you feel like eating very healthily. She was wearing a robe and I think she was making pancakes for breakfast at a beach house. It stuck with me. I need to borrow her words because the meringue tops have the highest sugar content of all my recipes. After years of occasional experimenting I gave up and concluded that a healthier version was a wishful thinking. A certain ratio of sugar and egg whites is needed for the meringue texture to feel right. It cushions the blow just a little to use organic unrefined cane sugar, but after all sugar is sugar. I serve the meringue tops with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries and blueberries, and if I'm making them in summertime I like adding nectarines or peaches.

This is one of the recipes I have already shared on the old food blog and when making them yesterday I thought, why not snap new photos. Actually, I had already separated eggs and was about to make Belgian waffles when the jar of coconut oil came flying out of the cupboard and broke into pieces on the floor. I had berries in the fridge, so making meringue tops instead was an excellent idea.


In comparison to my other recipes, these meringue tops may have a high sugar content but their taste isn't over-sugary. It is said that the fibre and fructose of strawberries help regulate blood sugar, which may explain why we never feel a sugar-rush after enjoying them. But note that this isn't a recipe that I make every week, these are just for special occasions. I used to own a KitchenAid mixer but for many years I haven't used a mixer when baking, except for whipping cream and egg whites. Now I use a simple handheld mixer on a stand so I find it best to add the sugar gradually, not in one go. In my meringue experiments I tried using baking powder, lemon juice, cream of tartar and a blend of it all, but in the end I switched to cornflour and add just a bit to the sugar. If you are new to meringue making, make sure not a trace of egg yolk goes into the mixing bowl (see tip below).

MERINGUE TOPS (CHOCOLATE)

4 egg whites (use large free-range eggs, at room temperature)
185 g organic unrefined cane sugar (as fine as possible)
½ teaspoon cornflour
a pinch of sea salt
for chocolate meringue tops: ½ tablespoon cocoa powder

Separate the eggs. Add the egg whites to a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cornflour.

Beat the egg whites until you get a slightly fluffy texture. Gradually add the sugar until the texture has become thick (the process takes me about 10-12 minutes). If making chocolate meringue tops, sieve over the cocoa powder and use a spatula to gently fold it in to create a marbled effect.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and use a spatula to form 6 meringue tops, using slow swirling movements.

Bake at 140°C/275°F (125°C fan oven) for about 80 minutes, then turn the oven off, open the oven door and let the meringue tops sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries, and perhaps the chocolate sauce below.

Uppskrift á íslensku.

If you are new to meringue making or perhaps a bit clumsy then perhaps it's better to separate cold eggs, one at a time: Use separate bowls for the egg whites and yolks. After cracking each egg, transfer the egg white from the bowl to the mixing bowl before cracking another one. If using cold eggs, cover the mixing bowl with a plastic film or a plate when you are done and wait for about 30 minutes until you start beating the egg whites.

Meringue tops ready for the oven.

The chocolate sauce is a variation of the chocolate frosting I made for my chocolate tray bake recipe. I just added more water to turn it into a sauce (you can also use it on ice cream). Make sure to always bake with quality cocoa powder, preferably organic/fair-trade. Prepare the chocolate sauce while the meringue tops are baking in the oven to give it time to cool.

CHOCOLATE SAUCE

3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1½ tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
2½ tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave syrup
4½-5 tablespoons water (about 75 ml)
a small piece organic dark chocolate or milk chocolate (15-20 g)
optional: a pinch of sea salt

Put all the ingredients into a small pan or saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring gently. Then remove from heat.

Pour the chocolate sauce into a bowl and let it sit for 30-40 minutes before serving.

Uppskrift á íslensku.



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4 comments:

  1. Even though I am not a huge meringue fan, this dessert version looks so yummy!!! I would definitely try this:-) Happy new week, Lisa!

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    1. I think the reason why people don't like meringue is the fact that usually it is way too sugary. These tops certainly contain sugar but I only used the amount needed to keep the texture right. Thank you, Igor, for stopping by ;-)

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  2. Oh wow, these look amazing. I don't know if I'd be able to pull off something like this but I may as well give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by, Whitney. Making meringue tops is actually easy and I would add that the taste is more important than the look ;-)

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