I’m not the biggest meringue fan in the world (excluding the ridiculously good Pavlova that my two aunts make of course!). I never order them when I’m out for dinner as they’re usually cardboard like monstrosities that are rock hard and dry. However, when tasked with dessert last Sunday I decided to finally give them a go myself after realising they contained just two ingredients that could just be thrown into a mixer. Simple. Egg white and sugar thrown into the mixer for about 10 minutes produced the most amazing airy, marshmallowy soft meringue mix… I ate a few spoons raw straight from the bowl, I’m not going to lie.
Baking these for only 15 minutes allows the inside to remain soft and fluffy, they really were light and heavenly. You can top the meringues with whatever you like but I loved the flavoured cream and chocolate orange toppings that I went for. You could of course put on whatever cream, fruit, berry, compote concoctions that you wish. But I think next time I make them I’ll try caramel and banana for extra decadence. I am a meringue convert. Go forth and try these cloud like balls of heaven.
Ingredients (serves 12)
4 egg whites
225g caster sugar
1/4 cup grated milk chocolate
Zest of 1 orange
100g milk chocolate
Zest One orange
Preheat your oven to 150C. In a spotlessly clean bowl whisk together the egg whites and sugar for about 10 minutes until they form stiff peaks. I rubbed my mixing bowl with a little lemon juice and then wiped it off before mixing in the egg and sugar. This cuts and removes any grease on the bowl that would prevent the eggs from whipping up. Similarly any egg yolk at all in the bowl will prevent the eggs from whipping.
Cover two baking trays with greaseproof paper and plop 12 individual balls of meringue onto the tray. Well spaced apart.
Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays. These are beautifully soft meringues that are fluffy and marshmallowy in the inside, so the top may collapse a little, don’t worry about this. They’ll be covered in cream anyway.
To make the flavoured cream mix together the cream, grated chocolate and orange zest and blend until softly whipped. Spoon equal amounts on top of the meringues. (If you’re not using all the meringues straight away, keep the ones you won’t use in an airtight tupperware free from any toppings and they’ll keep for a week or two).
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and when melted drizzle over the cream topped meringues. Finish with a little orange zest over the top.
The are some pluses and minuses to having a food blog. I arrived home on Friday night to a mother who has been keenly reading my blog and made a little list of things I was to make on Saturday. (Those Chorizo burgers are proving quite popular!) You can tell I’m at home from the pictures as the kitchenware is so much nicer than my slap-dash set! This dessert happened by chance off the back of an epic fail when I tried to make custard tarts yesterday. I was left with weird pastries but lots of lovely yummy runny custard infused with vanilla pod, orange zest & cinnamon that seemed a shame to throw out. So with the addition of some white bread, butter, nutmeg & raisins this tasty pudding was born.
I love bread and butter pudding! All pudding type desserts (sticky toffee pudding, hot chocolate pudding etc) are just so comforting and easy.This is crazily easy to make and always tends to be a crowd pleaser. Just two notes: Make sure you use good quality bread (sliced pan doesn’t cut the mustard), secondly I forgot to put brown sugar on top of mine which is why it’s not slightly caramelised, it still tasty yummy though. Give it a go & you won’t regret it!
1 loaf of fresh white bread cut into nice even slices (not too thick, not too thin)
1 whole nutmeg & grater
Raisins (about a handful or two)
3 tbsp brown sugar
For the custard:
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
500ml whole milk
4 egg yolks
zest of an orange
pinch of cinnamon
1 vanilla pod (insides scraped out)
1. To make the runny custard milk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and slowly whisk in the milk. Add orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla and set aside
2. Cut the crusts off your bread and butter on one side. Get a nice casserole or lasagne dish and make a bread layer with the buttery side facing down. Then spinkle with grated nutmeg (freshly grated is best) and raisins. Repeat these layers until you reach to the top of the dish but don’t sprinkle raisins or nutmeg on the top layer. Instead pour over your custard slowly and evenly. Sprinkly with a little brown sugar.
3. Pop into an oven preheated at 180C for 30-40 minutes. Serve with cream.
Sometimes you just need a sweet treat and a couch night, and this recipe combo is just the ticket! I stumbled across this recipe in the Sunday Times as a teenager and have been making it every now and then since. My Dad is a bit of shortbread fiend. Shortbread and a cup of tea (Barry’s of course!) and he is happy, so that was why I made it originally but I have loved it ever since. This recipe is much nicer than the shop bought stuff and it lasts about 5-7 days in an airtight container.
The last time I made it, I decided to be very indulgent and make a hot chocolate from O’Conaill Chocolates in Cork to go with it. O’Conaill Chocolates is amazing, I started going there in school with a friend before our French grinds and it quickly became a weekly ritual! Not only is their handmade chocolate melted down with fresh creamy milk to make their famous hot chocolate, you can also add praline, orange oil, white chocolate… the list is endless and it really is like nothing you’ve ever tried before! You can also buy beautiful chocolate fudge, tiffin, brownies, cakes and more recently chocolate cake pops! It is soooo worth a visit if you are in Cork. My sister gifted me with a hot chocolate set from there, but if you aren’t from Cork you can do the same with any good quality chocolate.
It’s a delicious but heavy combo, so not recommended after a big meal!
Pistachio Shortbread Ingredients:
90g caster sugar
240g butter softened
360g plain flour
¼ tsp sea salt
75g pistachios chopped (you can use a hand blender for a few seconds to chop- this will make some nuts powdery but some chunky which gives a nice texture & taste throughout)
Preheat oven to 165C.
Cream up sugar & butter until light and fluffy.
Beat in flour and salt
Add in nuts until just combined.
Remove dough from from bowl and shape in to two rectangular logs.
Chill for 30mins.
Brush cold logs with a few drops of water, sprinkle with caster sugar and then slice the logs in to 1cm biscuits & place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Leave space between biscuits to bake evenly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (they should remain pale in colour)
Let cool on wire rack.
Hot Chocolate Ingredients:
One glass of milk
One heaped teaspoon cocoa (I used from O’Conaill’s kit)
Two tablespoons of O’Conaill’s chocolate drops (mine were a mix of white, milk & dark chocolate- any good quality chocolate chopped up would work well though)
Mix cocoa with 2 tbsp milk in a saucepan until it forms a paste. Stir in rest of milk, and turn on the hob to a medium heat. Add in chocolate until melted. Enjoy!