Friday, 17 December 2010

Meringue morsels

These light as a cloud bite-sized meringues are filled with cream and a sharp cranberry sauce.

I went to a bring-a-dish Christmas party last night with some ex-work colleagues (I was rather charmed to have been invited so felt doubly obliged to take an extra-special contribution). I said I'd take quiche. Then saw three other emails saying they would also take quiche. Oh dear.

I didn't have much time to cook so I needed something that I could prep ahead and just put together on the day. These were the solution, sturdy enough to withstand the journey across London (sans cream) and easily sandwiched together with the decadent fillings on site. The meringues are happy to be baked the day before then left somewhere cool and dry until needed.

A word of warning: once the filling has been added, don't hang around too long before eating them or the fillings will start to make the meringues go soggy.  

Makes about 50

3 medium egg whites
130g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150ml double cream

~for the sauce
125g cranberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
juice of half a small lemon
kumquats, for decoration (optional)

1) Place the cranberries, lemon juice and sugar in a pan and cook with a lid on over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the berries are soft, stir the mixture well until pulpy then push through a sieve. Preheat the oven to 300f/150c/gas mark 1.

2) Place the egg whites in a very clean bowl and whisk to firm peaks, then whisk in the sugar a spoon at a time. Keep whisking until the mixture is glossy, then spoon into a piping bag with a small star nozzle. Pipe into flattish 2.5cm circles on baking sheets covered with greaseproof paper. You may find it easier to draw pencil circles onto the paper first as a guide.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave them to cool completely inside.

3) Sandwich each pair of meringues with a little cranberry sauce and some whipped double cream.

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