domingo, 28 de março de 2010

Meringue with fruits from another season...

This morning a very dear friend called to let me know she was coming for a visit this afternoon. I was very happy they were coming for a visit, she's been away from Trondheim for more than three months and was very happy to finally meet her. I wanted to serve them a nice dessert but I had no idea which one would be. I was saved from confusion by four egg whites left in the fridge since Friday night when I made some vanilla pudding for the kids. I also had cream in the fridge so a meringue with cream and defrosted fruits would be our Sunday afternoon treat.

Meringue topped with cream and fruits is often called Pavlova but since I grew up calling it just meringue and cream I will keep calling it this way here. Please forgive me if I sound slightly indifferent to a dessert so dear to Aussies and Kiwis... Nothing personal.

I love meringues with red fruits, mainly strawberries (quite basic and obvious, I'm aware of that) but I had none at home. Instead, since I had loads of wonderful red fruits in the freezer, I topped my meringue with defrosted wild blueberries from the forest behind our house and organic raspberries we harvested in our garden last summer. We had a huge harvest of raspberries last summer and a large amount of those fruits were frozen in 2 kilos boxes. In total, I think, we froze more than 40 kilos of berries this summer, mostly wild blueberries. Right now we are left with one two kilo box, but for a while they seemed endless.

Meringue and whipped cream with fruits from another season

4 egg whites (around 120 grams)
250 grams sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon tapioca (cassava) starch
zest of a lime (optional)

For the cream

300ml cream
1 or 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)


Pre heat oven to 160C/300F. Whisk the egg whites slowly, increasing the speed, until hard peaks form, add sugar, in small batches, and keep whisking until you get a stiff meringue. Add vinegar, starch and zest and using a metal or wood spoon stir to incorporate.

Spoon the meringue batter to form a 20cm diameter circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The borders of the circle can be a little higher than the center. Place baking sheet in the oven and reduce the temperature to 140C/250F. Bake one hour or one hour, or until the meringue is dry and hard when touched. Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool inside the oven.

Pay close attention to the meringue in the oven, watch the temperature closely because you don't want a dark meringue. It will most likely lose its snow white color once it's baked but it should not get a dark tan. It is OK if it cracks on the side and top a little bit, you can hide the cracks with cream.

Serves 6 to 8

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