As the sunshine comes through the windows I am beginning to feel the warm and fuzzy feeling that the end of winter brings to me each year.
I know that it will not last too long, after all this is the UK and the weather men and women would not have it other way, but I will not be defeated in enjoying it somehow.
Here is the how:
Easy to make and delicious to eat this is the perfect dessert if you have left over egg whites from custard making, for instance.
I found the basic meringue recipe on Delia's website and almost managed to follow it.
(If you fancy following her instructions instead of my version, here they are: http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook/eggs/how-to-make-meringues.html )
The rest was obvious inspiration drawn from the union jacks that adorned town with every possible occasion.
Cooking time: 15 minutes prep + 50 minutes bake
Quantity: This mix makes 6 circular meringues of 20cm, which assembled with the fruit and cream make two towers for 4 people each.
1. Always use a clean dry recipient to make meringue.
2. You can prepare everything in advance of a party but don't assemble the tower until its time to eat. Meringue is rather delicate and if wet, quite literally, begins to melt.
3. Unless you fancy doing exercise, use an electric whisk! Trust me and follow the steps, you will not regret it.
4. Use as fresh eggs as you can, it makes a difference.
5. When you are to use the baking paper under meringues, use a very small amount of mix in all four corners of the paper to fix it into place. Meringues are light and if the oven has a fan, they might fly.
6. When making the shapes, I don’t have patience to clean one of those bakers bags to my satisfaction, so i rather use a sandwich bag with the corner cut. It means that I don’t have to worry about buying anything in specialist shop and I don’t need to worry about not been able to clean it well.
2 medium egg whites 100 gr of sugar (50 per egg white) A pinch of salt Baking paper 200 gr of blueberries 400 gr of strawberries 250 gr of double cream
Preheat the oven at gas mark 2, 150 degree Celsius.
Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt in a clean bowl. Wisk for two minutes on the slowest speed. The mix will begin to bubble.
Increase the speed up to medium and whisk for another minute. The consistency will change and begin to peek. As it does, add the sugar (one spoon at the time) as you wisk on maximum speed.
When all the sugar has been incorporated, and the mix is sticky and solid enough to turn the bowl upside down without the mix falling, you are ready for the next step.
Lay the paper on the baking tray, as explained on the tips.
Place the mix of meringue in the bag and draw a snail like circle, staring from the centre and increasing the size as you go around.
I like this system because you can make meringues which are not too thick. I find that this way, when you build the tower and eat it, you can taste the fruits and the cream not only the meringue. If you like thicker layers, you could divide the mix on the tray in four parts and shape with a spoon .
Reduce the heat in the oven to 140 degree Celsius, gas mark 1.
Place the trays in the oven and cook for 50 minutes.
Whilst you wait for the meringue to cook, you can clean the fruit, slice the strawberries and whisk the cream. If you feel a bit lazy, you can always buy whipping cream.
After the 50 minutes have gone, let the meringue cool down properly before taking each circle from the paper. If you don’t do this, you will break them.
All you need to do then is assemble: meringue, cream, sliced strawberries, meringue, cream, sliced strawberries, meringue, cream a cross of strawberry slices and finally the blueberries filling the gaps.
Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate based on Delia's.
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