Friday, January 30, 2009

Espresso Walnut Meringues

I had a bunch of egg whites left after making the big-ass cake last week and I figured I could find a way to use them so I threw them in a tupperware container and put them in the fridge. I looked through a few recipes and considered financiers and madeleines, but this meringue recipe from the Nick Malgiere Modern Baker book won the day with its simplicity.

The recipe is easy, beat the egg whites with a little salt, and then add sugar a tablespoon at a time until you get stiff peaks. Sprinkle the other chopped ingredients -- walnut, espresso, chocolate and corn starch -- across the top and fold them in. Spoon them onto the baking sheets and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Easy as can be.

I was a bit confused though because the ingredient list calls for a full cup of sugar, but in the instructions it only tells you to put 1/2 a cup of sugar in the egg whites, and never gives further instructions for the rest of the sugar. I must have read that thing a dozen times trying to figure out what I was missing, but the recipe never gives further instructions so there must be a typo somewhere.

Mine aren't nearly as poofy as the ones in the picture, mine are pretty much flat and slightly sticky in the center. I've never made meringues before so I'm not sure if I messed up the recipe, or that's the way they are supposed to be. The flavor is good though, using only 1/2 cup of sugar produced cookies that are only slightly sweet and slightly bitter from the espresso powder, I'm not sure what a full cup of sugar would have done to them but I would be interested to find out. You can barely taste the chocolate, and if you didn't know it was in there you probably wouldn't guess, however, I also suspect you would miss it if it wasn't there since it blends nicely with the espresso powder.

These aren't something that I would crave and then make, but they are a dandy way to use up spare egg whites and I can definitely see repeating variations of them again.

Using only 1/2 cup of sugar produced cookies that are only slightly sweet and slightly bitter from the espresso powder.

4 large eggs whites
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar (or a 1/2 cup -- there seemed to be a mistake with the recipe in the book)
1 1/4 cups walnut pieces (about 5 oz or 150 grams) finely chopped but not ground
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 300 and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip withthe whisk attachment on medium speed until white, opaque and beginning to hold their shape. Increase the speed to medium high and whip in 1/2 cup of sugar 1 tbsp at a time continuing to whip until the egg whites are stiff, but not dry.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and scatter the walnuts, then the espresso powder, chocolate and cornstarch on top, one at a time in order. (Don't mix them all together and beforehand.) Use a large rubber spatula to fold them in.

Use a spoon to make rough mounds of the meringue, about 2 inches apart on all sides, on the prepared pans.

Bake the meringues until they are almost dry about 30 minutes. Ratate the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.


burkie said...

meringues...i'm not a fan, though the addition of espresso, nuts, and chocolate will certinaly help. i don't care much for angel food cake, either, or meringue pies (i like everything uder the meringue and tolerate the meringue), or low-fat muffins made with too many egg whites, or egg white omelettes. okay, i don't care much for egg whites. but those looks like the best application i've seen for an all egg white recipe.

giz said...

I always have a big problem with meringues and now I'm convinced it's all in the mixing. When I mix them too much, they go flat.