Raspberry Nearly-massive Magnificent Mountainous Meringues
“Once you’ve got a lovely stiff, shiny mixture you have to get piping before it starts deflating”
-Stacey O’Gorman, co-author of Meringue Girls Cookbook
I first got the idea for these from a visit to Borough market. I saw the most gob-smackingly huge meringues in the window of Konditor & Cook…. and then later I spotted some even more incredible monsters in a tea shop in South Kensington. But mountainous meringues aren’t new – they were first invented in the early nineteenth century by Antonin Carême.
I have a great advantage when it comes to meringues because I have an Aga, which is very good for things which need long, slow cooking; but I also have a disadvantage because I very rarely make them and am somewhat lacking in experience, so this way of making them has been subjected to trial and error. Nevertheless – the acidity of the fruit purée stops these meringues from being as massive and magnificent as those to which I was aspiring!
In any case I think that taste is more important than looks so I always use golden caster sugar as it gives a more caramel taste, although it does mean that they never have that pure white Mont Blanc look about them.
The amount below makes about double the amount of raspberry purée you need but if you decide to sandwich the meringues together with some whipped double cream you could mix the rest of the purée in with the cream.
These meringues will keep for a week or so in an airtight container.
Recipe for raspberry nearly-massive magnificent mountainous meringues
- 75g/3 oz raspberries (half a 150g punnet)
- 1 heaped tablespoon icing sugar
- 300g/1½ cups golden caster sugar
- 12 tablespoons Two Chicks egg whites (this is much easier than worrying about what to do with all the yolks); or egg whites from four large eggs
- half a lemon
- Preheat the oven to 210ºC (use the Aga roasting oven).
- Cover a couple of large baking trays with baking paper and oil lightly.
- Push the raspberries through a sieve into a wide brimmed jug.
- Mix in the icing sugar.
- Spread the sugar onto another tray or large roasting tin and warm for a few minutes – don’t let it get too hot and begin to caramelise.
- Turn the oven down to 110º (use the Aga simmering – top left of a four door Aga).
- Rub the half lemon around the inside of a large (preferably metal) bowl and leave it for about five minutes – this will remove any grease and help the whites to whisk up stiffly.
- Pour the whites into the bowl and whisk like mad until they become foamy.
- Add the hot sugar bit by bit, whisking continually. After about ten minutes it should become thicker and more satiny.
- Stick the baking paper to the baking trays with a little of this mixture.
- Using a large metal spoon make about ten dollops dropping them on the trays as far apart as possible (as they will double in size whilst cooking).
- Carefully dribble about a teaspoon of the puree over the skin of the meringue – swirl out with a skewer, but DON’T pierce…. The acidity of the fruit will cause the meringue to collapse.
- Bake, on the middle and top shelves of the oven, for a couple of hours… the outside should be hard, and the inside gooey. The bottom of the meringue should sound hollow when tapped.