Saturday, 17 October 2009

Hefty meringue cake for 2

Another exercise in pleasurable frugality today. I made baked custard for pudding earlier in the week and was left with 3 egg whites in the fridge.

There are many sorrowful little packets of frozen egg white in my freezer, languishing there as an eternal monument to good intentions. For that very reason I did not freeze these three, but kept them in a desert bowl on the first shelf of the fridge to glare at me accusingly whenever I searched for a yogurt.

Saturday seemed as good a time as any to indulge, and although I did fleetingly consider making lots of little meringues to give, generously, to all and sundry at church tomorrow, greed prevailed, and Dr K and I will be sharing this monster tonight, all by ourselves...

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 180g unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon corn flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Few drops real vanilla essence
  • Whipped cream and fruit to fill
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • In a clean, dry bowl, start whisking the egg whites with the salt (using an electric whisk unless you want to risk a nervous breakdown).
  • As the whites start to form satiny peaks, sprinkle in the sugar. Add in three increments, whisking well after each, until you have a very stiff and shiny meringue. The great test is to hold the bowl upside down - the meringue should not budge.
  • Sift the cornflour over the meringue, and drip in the vanilla and vinegar. Fold through gently with a large metal spoon.
  • Dollop the meringue onto the parchment in two equal mounds. Using a pallet knife, shape each into a rough circle and smooth the surface.
  • Pop the tray into the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 150C/300F.
  • Set a timer for 40 minutes. When it goes off, turn off the oven, but don't open the door until it feels completely cold.
  • Once cold, invert one meringue on to a serving plate and fill the cavity with whipped cream. Pile on your fruit (you might like to try the last of the summer berries; baked plums and a little of their juice; peeled and cubed ripe pears with a dark chocolate sauce; or ripe mango with finely diced stem ginger and a drizzle of the syrup from the jar).
  • Finally, spread some more cream on the underside of the second meringue disk and top the base.
  • Dive in.

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