Sunday, February 14, 2010

Summer dessert time!

I first came across this recipe in The Australian Magazine, in December 2004, I believe. That year I made around 7 and a half million of them for various christmas / new year's / random functions, by hand because my mother didn't have a mix master. Right before I left to come back to Canberra in Feb '05, she got one for the account-disabling sum of $12. I had amazing arms that year. It's all in the wrist.


Anyway, the original recipe calls for you to make 3 large disks of meringue, layer them with whipped cream and berries and make a stack. This is a bitch to transport, and very difficult to serve without ending up with a huge pile of meringue crumbs and cream-and-berries goop, so over the years I've made some alterations to the original - healthier and much, much easier to deal with. Also, tastier meringue that has less of a tendency to have that sugar-syrupy thing happening, which is also a plus.

Without further ado, I present: Rosewater Meringue with Summer Berries!


6 egg whites 1 tbsp (corn, not wheat) cornflour
440g caster sugar 500g cherries (halved & pitted)
2 tbsp rosewater 300g raspberries
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar 250g redcurrants
800g thick yoghurt

Oven - preheat to 180°C, turn down to 120°C while baking. (Not fan-forced.)

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar, 1/3 at a time, fully incorporating so you end up with a thick, glossy meringue. Fold through the rosewater, vinegar and cornflour (I often sieve the cornflour, just to eliminate the chance of lumps, but it's not usually a problem)

Line a few baking trays with baking paper (I use 2 layers, but that's just paranoia). Make small discs of meringue (approx. 10cm in diameter and 4-5cm deep) and hollow the middle out a little, so each disk will bake into a 'bowl'. Place in oven and reduce heat immediately; bake for 35-45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave meringues inside to cool. The meringues should colour slightly, but not darken too much.

To serve, 2/3 fill each meringue with yoghurt (I use King Island Dairy 'creamy indulgence' yoghurt, either the plain or vanilla bean version. Any very thick or set yoghurt will do the job, but you're better off not using a strong flavour, as the rosewater gives the meringue a very delicate flavour which matches the fruit perfectly). Distribute the berries between the individual meringue bowls, and serve. The amount of fruit called for is from the original recipe; I tend to use whatever is on hand. I've never actually used the red currants, as I tend to make this when there are home-grown raspberries, cherries, strawberries and jostaberries on hand, and I put on as much or as little fruit as I like.

This will make about a dozen servings. The meringue is of the chewy variety, although you can lessen that slightly by baking them for a slightly shorter time, turning the oven off before they begin to colour.

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