Saturday, February 13, 2016

Chewy meringues w/ Greek yoghurt, blood oranges & blood orange and orange-blossom water syrup

These meringues were not intended for a Valentine’s post, but since Valentine’s Day is in a couple of days and many of you will celebrate it with something sweet, I’d say these meringues are pretty perfect to share with your loved one.




There isn’t any other dessert that is more fluffy and light, billowy and cloud-like as a meringue. Especially when it is topped with a couple dollops of luscious, rich and creamy Greek yoghurt, full-fat please, a few slices of fresh blood oranges and blood orange and orange-blossom water syrup that intensifies the flavor of the fresh fruit even more.


The voluminous meringues are crunchy on the outside and chewy, soft and sticky on the inside. The tanginess of the rich yoghurt balances the sweetness of the meringues —which for me is a bit too much to be eaten on their own—, the sweet and sour syrup with a hint of bitterness adds fresh notes and counteracts that sweetness, while the thinly sliced blood orange brings the freshest notes of citrus as well as juiciness.




It’s a scrumptious dessert and perfect served not only for your beloved partner but also for a crowd or for a dinner with friends since you can prepare the meringues and syrup a couple of days in advance and assemble the dessert when you want to serve it.




Important notes on making meringues:

It’s best if you make meringues on a dry, clear day rather than a dump and wet one because the meringues despise humidity.

The weight of the egg whites should be double that of the sugar and that’s why you need to always weigh your ingredients.

Use older egg whites if you have them because they produce a fluffier meringue due to the fact that they are more runny which creates more volume.


Egg whites that are at room temperature can incorporate more air thus producing a fluffier meringue. But, it is easier to separate eggs that are cold. So, before you start making the meringue, take the eggs out of the fridge, separate them, and let them come to room temperature before using them in the recipe.
You mustn’t drop any egg yolk (fat) in with the egg whites because it will prevent them from firming.
You can use the egg yolks to make mayonnaise.

Use caster sugar (superfine sugar for my American friends). It will dissolve more easily into the egg whites and you won’t need to beat your mixture for ages.


Use a very clean (and dry) metal or glass bowl to make your meringue, not a plastic bowl, because plastic is difficult to get really clean; there’s almost always traces of fat from previous usage and any grease will stop your meringue from getting fluffy. The same applies for your beaters too.




They say that you shouldn’t open your oven while your meringues are baking because they will crack due to the temperature change. Well, I open my oven because my oven is crazy and I need to rotate. As a result my meringues always crack but I don’t care because I think they look pretty anyway. You shouldn’t care that much either because you can hide any cracks beneath Greek yoghurt, melted chocolate or whipped cream. The cracks do not affect the flavor of the meringues.




You can store these meringues for 2-3 days in an airtight container.

The recipe yields five good-sized meringues so they could easily be served to more than five people if they’re willing to share. For example, one meringue for each couple. There will be of course those who will want them all to themselves, and rightly so!







Chewy meringues with Greek yoghurt, blood oranges & blood orange and orange-blossom water syrup

There are two types of meringues in this world, chewy and crispy; this characterizes the texture of the center of the meringue. As noted above, these meringues are chewy, which means that they’re chewy in the center and crispy on the outside. This is achieved by the addition of cornflour (cornstarch for my American friends) and vinegar in the mixture.

You can use the blood orange syrup on top of pancakes, waffles and of course ice cream.

Since it's blood orange season, you may want to check out this blood orange granita with juniper berries and Jenever (Dutch Gin), and this blood orange, Campari and semolina syrup cake.




Yield: 5 portions

Ingredients

for the meringues
250 g caster sugar
125 g egg white (from about 4 large eggs, but I advise you to weigh the whites for proper results), at room temperature
A pinch of salt
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

for the syrup
200 ml blood-orange juice, freshly squeezed
Juice of 1 lemon (about 40 ml), freshly squeezed
120 g caster sugar
½ tsp orange-blossom water

for serving
2 blood oranges
About 350 g Greek yoghurt, full-fat

Special equipment: stand mixer with whisk attachment or hand-held mixer, baking sheet, baking paper


Preparation

for the meringues
Preheat your oven to 120ºC.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large stainless steel bowl, add the egg whites and salt, and using the whisk attachment or a hand-held mixer, start beating them. Start by beating on medium-low speed until the egg whites start to foam and then continue to beat at high speed until you have stiff peaks and when you hold the bowl above your head the meringues stay in the bowl. Don’t beat too much or they will become grainy.

Add ⅓ of the sugar into the meringue and beat on high speed for about 4 minutes. Then add the rest of the sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, whisking well after each addition. Once all sugar is added, continue to whisk for a further 10 minutes until you have a fluffy, thick and glossy meringue.

Sprinkle the cornflour on top of the meringue, add the white wine vinegar and pure vanilla extract, and using a spatula or metal spoon, gently fold the ingredients in the meringue.


Take a little of the mixture and smear it in the four corners of a baking sheet. Place the baking paper on top and press to stick. This way the paper won’t move around when you’re spooning on it the meringue. Spoon dollops of meringue making 5 individual round-ish and plump meringues, 9-10 cm each.


Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Then turn heat down to 100ºC and bake for a further 40 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside the oven until they have completely cooled.
Take them out of the oven and peel them off gently. Don’t put pressure with your hands when you touch them because they might break.

The meringues can be made 2-3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container, at room temperature.

for the syrup
In a small pan, add the blood-orange juice, lemon juice, orange-blossom water and sugar, and place over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, turn heat down to low and allow to simmer until it has reduced to about a half. It will take about 15 minutes. Leave to cool completely. The syrup will become thicker as it cools.


The syrup can be made 4-5 days ahead and kept in a bowl in the fridge, wrapped well with plastic wrap.

serve
To cut the blood oranges, using a large, sharp knife, cut off the peel, then the white pith all around the fruit, exposing the flesh, and finally, cut into thin circles.

Place the meringues on individual plates, top them with 3-4 tsp of yoghurt to cover the top, place 3 slices of blood orange on top and drizzle with syrup.
Serve immediately. Don’t leave the meringues stand like that for more than 1 minute because the tops will soften.




6 comments:

  1. I don't think you mean to use icing sugar (that contains cornstarch and would make the meringue gloopy). You probably mean caster sugar, which is the same as what Americans call superfine sugar.

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    1. Thanks for that! It was a typo. It was correct in the recipe ingredients though. :)

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