Meringues

I’ve only recently started making my own meringues. It came about after a weekend at the Serpentine Lido. The swans were out and my five year old commented on how much more graceful they were than the ducks at our local pond. This, I told her, was why there weren’t any ballets about them.

And thus began a conversation about Anna Pavlova, the Russian prima ballerina who danced the role of The Dying Swan more than 4,000 times and had a dessert created in her honour. That was it for Helena. She insisted we had to make a pavlova for Sunday lunch.

Since then, we’ve been on a meringue making kick. Below is our recipe. It’s very easy and yields lovely marshmallowy meringues as light and fluffy as Anna Pavlova’s tutu.

 

Ingredients:

egg whites

caster sugar

cream of tartar

*Weigh you egg whites. Double this weight and that’s how much caster sugar to use. For each egg white, add 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar.

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to Gas 2/150°C/300°F.

Line a metal baking tray with wax paper.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites then beat them with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar a dessertspoonful at a time and continue beating until well incorporated and there is no sugary grit at the bottom of the mixture. When the mixture is smooth and glossy, it’s ready to be baked. Do be careful not to over beat the mixture or the meringues won’t rise properly.

Pipe or spoon the meringues on to the wax paper. If you’re making a pavlova, spread the mixture into a large circle.

Put them in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to Gas 1/140°C/275°F. Allow them to bake for an hour and a half. Rotate your tray halfway in between. After this time, turn the oven off but leave the meringues in there to cool.

Enjoy them on their own, with ice cream, or berries and whipped cream.

 

 

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Chubby Princess’s Ginger Peach Pie

First, make a pâte brisée.

Second, procure the following.

Ingredients:

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tablespoons freshly peeled grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup granulated/caster sugar

2 tablespoons arrowroot

10 large peaches

1 egg white

1 tablespoon of Demerara sugar

Flour for rolling out dough

You will also need a kettle, 3 large bowls, a rolling pin, a ceramic pie dish(remember: Only philistines use tin), a pastry brush, and a cookie cutter–I always go with a heart shape.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.

Mix the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and arrowroot in a bowl.  Set aside.

Boil a kettle of water.  Next put the peaches in a large bowl.  When the kettle whistles pour its contents over the peaches.  Blanch them for 20 seconds.  Quickly drain the peaches then immerse them into a large bowl of ice water.  Peel the peaches then cut them into thick slices.  I aim to get 5-6 slices per peach.  Gently coat the slices in the ginger lemon mixture.  If it looks too soupy, you can always remove the peaches and reduce the ginger lemon mixture on the stove then mix them back together again before pouring everything into a pie shell.

On a floured surface, roll out both disks of dough.  Line your ceramic pie dish with one round and leave about an inch of overhang.  Pour the fruit filling to the pie.  Now, take your cookie cutter and cut out enough shapes from the second disk of dough to cover the top of your pie.  The shapes needn’t overlap completely.  In fact, it’s best if they don’t.  Your pie will look prettier and there will also be plenty of good ventilation.  Crimp the edges of your pie.  Brush the egg white over the top crust and finally, sprinkle with Demerara sugar.

Bake for approximately one hour or until the filling bubbles and the top crust is golden.

Allow the pie to cool for at least 45 minutes before serving.  Not only will this prevent the pie’s molten contents from scalding anyone’s tongue, but it will give the filling a chance to thicken up a bit.

Nota bene:  You can always skip the top crust and opt for a streusel topping.  Should you choose to do this, mix the following ingredients in a large bowl with your fingertips:

1/2 cup flour

1/4 oatmeal

2 tablespoons dried coconut

2 minced pieces of crystallized ginger

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 stick of cold butter

a pinch of salt

Once you’ve achieved a well mixed crumbly topping, sprinkle it evenly over your pie.  Bake as instructed above.