Tag Archive for: meringue

Brown sugar meringue roulade

The prunes kept staring at me from the shelf in the pantry. I had bought a packet of the sticky, black fruit to make devils on horseback, and decanted the remainder neatly into a glass jar. But every time I went to the shelf for some ingredient or other, the prunes looked on woefully, and the little voice in my head said to me, you have to use them up you know. For what though. The last encounter I had had with the dried fruit was in little, yellow, single serve packets, for breakfast every morning while in hospital waiting to have Thea. Which is rather apt as it was around this time two years ago. So I decided to create a recipe to honour the prunes. I came up with a brown sugar meringue roulade filled with cinnamon stewed prunes and cream.

I’m like the proverbial bull in a shop full of delicate objects when I get an idea in my head. I have to make it come to life. NOW. It’s probably a very annoying attribute for those around me, but at least I can be described as a doer. Without a moment’s hesitation, even though it was 10pm, and half the house had gone to bed, I found the recipe I needed for the fruit and began the stewing process. My mother in law questioned me in disbelief, was I cooking again this late at night. No, just soaking some oats for porridge, I sheepishly lied.

I learned how to a make meringue roulade from a no-nonsense, very practical, very experienced lady named Rosie, whilst attending her information laden cookery course in 2003. A course that, enlightened after working as a chalet girl in France where I realised that cooking was for me, I managed to squeeze into after another attendee dropped out. Fate? I like to think so. During my time with Rosie, I learnt the technique for making an amazing and versatile little salad dressing, since tweaked to become my own. I learnt how to make my first ice cream. Elderflower and gooseberry, the ingredients picked straight from the garden. I learnt how to make puff pasty and croissants. To lay a table. And pop a champagne cork, or not as the case may be.

I also learnt from Rosie about the characteristics that make a really good recipe. It’s thoroughly tested with clear instructions and reliable. And I was told that if you get just one recipe from a cookbook that you use time and time again, then the book was worth the money that you paid for it. This could explain why my cookery book collection is so large. And still growing. Hopefully though, this meringue roulade recipe, personalised with the use of brown sugar to complement the prunes, is one that you will be able to make over and over. Fill it with the fruit of your choice, stewed rhubarb perhaps or fresh raspberries. Replace the whipped cream with Greek yoghurt or even mascarpone. But do try it.


Brown sugar meringue roulade

  • 100g brown sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 150ml egg whites (4-6 whites, it’s always best to measure the whites exactly as eggs can vary in size so much)
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • few drops white vinegar
  • 400ml cream, whipped
  • cinnamon stewed prunes as per Molly Wizenburg’s recipe

A stand mixer will make life much easier when making meringues, but a hand-held mixer will work as well. You will just be left standing in the one spot for a while.

Begin by whisking the egg whites until soft peaks form. Now add the cater sugar, one spoonful at a time, over about 5-7 minutes. Do not rush. This step ensures that the sugar is well combined with the egg whites.

Now add the brown sugar, a little quicker than the white, one spoonful after the other. Just make sure that each spoonful is visibly incorporated before you add the next.

When all the sugar has been added, turn the whisk off. Add the icing sugar, cornflour and vinegar and then turn the whisk on again for about 10 turns, or until everything is just combined.

Transfer the meringue roulade mix onto a baking paper lined tray (mine was 42cm x 30cm) and spread it out evenly. The mixture does not need to be even, peaks and waves will make the finished roll a little more spectacular.

Bake in an oven preheated to 150 C for 30 minutes, or until the top of the roulade is firm, but the base still slightly soft. Cool in the oven with the door held ajar with a folded tea towel.

When the roulade is cool, which will probably take a few hours, lay a clean tea towel on a work surface. On top of this lay a piece of cling wrap. Now invert the roulade on to the cling wrap. Spread it with cream and decorate with prunes.

To roll up the meringue roulade, use the tea towel to help you fold the edge of the roulade over and then to push it along as you continue rolling. This way you don’t have to handle the delicate, and somewhat sticky meringue, and you can use the tea towel to provide momentum.

Slice as neatly as you are able and maybe garnish with some toasted flaked almonds before devouring.

Love making meringue? You may also like my top Pavlova making tips

 

Meringue canapés you’ll want to make.

What better way to start an elegant, girly dinner, than with a miniature dessert and a pomegranate Bellini. A dainty, pink, raspberry, pistachio and rosewater meringue kiss to nibble on in one hand and a ruby red, sparkling, pomegranate aperitif to sip in the other. A slightly exotic combination with rosewater and pomegranate, that’s also slightly different to serving savoury morsels to entice people to dinner.

The recipe (see below) for the kisses is from the fabulous Meringue Girls cookbook, a neon covered, hedonistic collection of THE prettiest, girlies desserts. You will want to make every single one. But then that’s me saying that and I’m slightly dotty about meringue. It’s gorgeously sweet, but not heavy or sickly, crisp and chewy and extremely pretty and playful, the perfect partner to fresh fruit, cream and a little glass of sticky. Plus there are endless combinations to try, like adding nuts, cocoa or lime zest to a basic meringue mixture, adorning with cream, yoghurt or sorbet, even drizzling with chocolate or caramel.

After nibbling through the kisses, and finishing the Bellinis, a very simple mix of prosecco, a splash of pomegranate juice and the glamorous addition of a few pomegranate arils, seated around the table everyone chatted freely and easily. Babes were in bed at home with their dads and there was a sense of relaxation, to be away from home, communally enjoying an evening meal with friends. Eager to make the night special, I had prepared a fennel, orange and Moreton Bay bug salad and a chicken and pistachio terrine with pickled figs to start. Ingredients with a touch of luxury in dishes that could still be enjoyed informally, passing platters around the table, picking out favourite bits and taking second and thirds. Bread was dotted here and there and in-between the enjoyment of wine, slices were spread with terrine or dotted with salad leaves and pieces of seafood, as the remains of the entree was finished.

So that I could stay and enjoy conversation around the table and not spend too much time in the kitchen, when it came to the main course, I had prepared a fillet of beef rolled in herbs and wrapped in prosciutto. A Jamie Oliver recipe from his second book. I cooked it before anyone arrived and had left it to rest wrapped in abundant layers of foil and tea towels on the kitchen bench. I love using this method when cooking meat. Not only does it take the stress out of catering, but it ensures that the meat is well rested and juicy. Contrary to what most people believe, it stays hot too. I simply had to slice it and arrange it on a platter, along with some greens and roast potatoes. I was back at the table in no time, choosing the crispiest spuds!

After having our fill of of meat, fish and vegetables, it was time for dessert, also a replica of a Meringue Girls creation. To the table I gingerly brought a metre long plank of chocolate meringue. It was smothered with mascarpone, dotted with quartered, cinnamon poached pears and toasted walnuts before being anointed with caramel and chocolate. A spectacular centrepiece, that between the 10 of us, was gone in five minutes. Everyone agreed that it was the standout dish of the night, some having seconds and thirds. I was truly honoured. And it wrapped up the evening nicely. Meringue to start and finish a gorgeous evening with friends.

Meringue canapes

Adapted from the Meringue Girls cookbook

Serves 8

300g caster suger
5 egg whites (150g)
50g finely ground pistachios
1 tsp rosewater
300ml Cup whipping cream
Fresh raspberries

Preferably in a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Now add the sugar a little at a time over a 10 minute period. Stop the mixer and add the pistachios and rosewater. Start the mixer again, and let the whisk turn no more than 10 times. You want the ingredients combined, but don’t want to knock any of the air from your meringue.

Working quickly, transfer the mixture into a piping bag, and pipe little mounds on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. The more you pipe, the better and more consistent your mounds will be. The trick is to squeeze the bag firmly and keep the tip of it in the mixture then lift up quickly.

Bake the mini meringues at 95 degrees C for 30-40 minutes until they lift easily from the paper. When they are done, turn the oven off, open the door and leave the meringues to cool on the tray. Stored in an airtight container, the meringues will keep for two weeks.

Dollop each meringue with a generous tablespoon of whipped cream and top with a fresh raspberry.

Stored in an airtight container, the meringues will keep for two weeks.

Enjoy this? You might also like my brown sugar meringue roulade