Summer Pansies – Pretty Meringues!
A pretty posy of Flower Shaped Meringues!
When the Peachicks demanded a repeat batch of mint meringues this morning I decided to multi-task; meringues for the girls, sorbet for the heat and all wrapped up in a floral theme for this month’s Tea Time Treats Table! The meringue flowers didn’t quite hold their shape probably something to do with the 30C heat outside our kitchen but I quite like them anyhow!
The recipe for the meringues is slightly different, I wanted to see if cocoa powder and mint leaves would be a good substitute for the chocolate peppermint leaves. It would appear that they are! This small test batch of meringues is in fact gone; probably helped by the mixed berry sorbet in the middle of them. The chocolate, mint and berries work really nicely together and the flower shape is really, really easy to do!
So, first make the meringue….
2 egg whites
125g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2tsb Finely chopped mint leaves
1tbsp cocoa powder
- Separate your eggs and put the whites into your clean mixer bowl with a SMALL pinch of salt. There are several ways of separating egg yolks from the whites, using your hands, an egg cup & a saucer and the good old dribbling the contents of the egg between the two shell halves. Just use your preferred method… mine is most definitely NOT using my hands as a sieve… mild egg phobia over here!
- Whisk until stiff – basically until they have changed from a clear liquid into a fairly solid, frothy mass (see below). It takes about 5-8mins on medium speed. Do not over whisk!
The best way to check is to stop the mixer and gently tip the bowl onto its side every now and again, the egg whites shouldn’t move. To double check borrow someone and tip the bowl upside down over their heads, if they end up with egg on their heads – the whites need more mixing (and you will probably have to give your helper your entire batch as an apology!)
- Gradually add the sugar, I do this in about 4 batches, remembering to stop the mixer before pouring the sugar in so it doesn’t just stick to the sides of the bowl. I whisk the mixture on a medium speed.
Now GENTLY and I really do mean gently fold in your finely chopped mint leaves and freeze dried strawberries until evenly distributed.Continue to whisk until the meringue mix is stiff and glossy. According to Jamie Oliver if you rub a small amount of mix between your finger tips there should be no sign of graininess from the sugar left. This is a good tip – it seems to work!
Add the cocoa powder and red food gel (if using) and whisk until combined.
- Place your mixture into a piping bag… now for the flowers!
First pipe small rounds onto your Bake-o-Glide. Snip a little bit off the end of the bag hold it over the tray and pipe out little circles by squeezing while counting to 2. Then for the petals add small blobs around it – I managed to get 9 petals around my middles. Flatten the inner circle slightly with the back of a spoon to make an indent for the sorbet to sit in!
- Bake in preheated oven at 140C for 40mins and they should be crunchy on the outside but still soft inside. If you like them a bit more done add another 5mins to the baking time. Beware though your oven my take more or less time than mine, which does whatever it want really, so just watch them!
- Leave the meringues on the sheets to cool before peeling off. Fill the indents with a spoonful of berry sorbet and place in a bowl on top of a very large dollop of sorbet. Take out into the garden and sit in the sunshine and enjoy… or more likely sit inside on the sofa pretending it’s not raining and freezing cold outside!!
Just a word of advice… If, like me you used black forest fruit mix to make your sorbet and spent a little while arranging your meringue flowers before taking pictures DO NOT give to a hungry little person as they may just tip the whole thing down their brand new Big Sister T-shirt! Ooops another epic fail for mummy Peacock!