Sunday, 11 September 2011

Spiced Meringues with Strawberry & Raspberry Cream

by Jemma at timeforalittlesomething

Nice to meet you all at the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op! I'm Jemma, I live in New Zealand, and I love to cook and bake. I look forward to sharing some local, seasonal, healthy and inexpensive recipes with you.

For my first post, I thought I'd share this dessert recipe with you. I spotted some NZ raspberries and strawberries at our local community market yesterday and couldn't resist. I served them with these spiced meringues for dessert here at home last night, and it felt like our first taste of the warmer weather to come.

I love healthy food, so using cream is bending rules for me! But if you like the look of these, and want a healthier option, you could make the topping by mixing the fruit with low-fat vanilla yoghurt, or reduced fat fromage frais. You can also alter the fruit depending on what's in season near you, or what you have in your garden. Berries work beautifully, and frozen are just as good as fresh. Or how about some rhubarb lightly stewed with a little brown sugar?

Spiced Meringues with Strawberry & Raspberry Cream
Serves 2-4

1 egg white
50g caster sugar
1/4 tsp mixed spice

Cream Topping:
150ml cream
1-2 tsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or use extract or paste)
2-3 Tbsp plain yoghurt
about 100g strawberries or raspberries, or a mixture of both

Preheat the oven to 150 (c). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

To make the meringue, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form, and then whisk in the caster sugar, one teaspoon at a time. Once all the sugar has been whisked in, you should have a beautiful stiff, glossy meringue mixture. Whisk in the mixed spice.

Spoon the meringue mixture into mounds on the baking tray. I used this mixture to make two large meringues, but you could easily make three, or even four if you would like to make smaller sweets to serve with coffee. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the mounds into discs (see the photos to get an idea of the shape).

Place the tray in the oven and turn the heat down to 120 (c). Bake the meringues for 50 minutes, then turn the heat off. Leave the discs to cool in the oven. You can do this step in advance - the cooled meringues should keep in an airtight container for at least a day or two.

To make the cream topping, hull the strawberries and/or raspberries. Set aside 2-3 berries per meringue to use as a garnish, and hull the rest. Place them in a food processor and whiz to a puree. I don't mind the seeds in my topping, but if you prefer, you can pass the puree through a sieve.

In a large bowl or jug, whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla (use more icing sugar for tarter fruit). Fold the fruit into the cream, and spoon on top of the cooled meringues. Garnish with reserved berries and sprigs of mint.