When I think of warmer weather, I think of lighter fare, including desserts featuring meringue.
Made only from 1 part egg white and 2 parts sugar, with a tiny bit of salt, meringue is a fat-free food. The mixing bowl and beaters have to be completely clean of fat or else the meringue won’t turn out right. Just as important is patience: Let the eggs come up to room temperature before you beat them. Also, embrace the process — a good meringue will be shiny and have stiff peaks, but it takes time to get there.
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Meringue is versatile, and mastering the technique for making it can expand your dessert repertoire to include all sorts of cream pies as well as Pavlova, the dessert named after the famous early 20th-century Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Pavlova is light, delicate and as fluffy as a tutu.
Meringue can also be made into airy cookie-size treats. These pistachio and apricot meringues are great on their own. They’re also terrific broken up over a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream or custard.
PISTACHIO AND APRICOT MERINGUES
Makes about 12
6 egg whites (about 1 cup)
Pinch fine sea salt
2 cups sugar (or double the weight of the whites; see above)
4 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
4 tablespoons chopped or ground pistachios
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Using an electric handheld whisk or stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Continue whisking, adding the salt and a few large spoonfuls of sugar at a time, making sure it’s incorporated before you add the next bit. The mixture should start to become silky and thick. When it’s all incorporated, keep mixing for a few more minutes until it is glossy, thick and stands in stiff peaks.
Fold the chopped apricots and pistachios into the mixture.
Use a large spoon to scoop dollops of the mixture onto the paper, leaving space between each one so they have room when they expand in the oven. For a final flourish, use the back of the spoon in a circular motion to smooth out the mixture, lifting the spoon at the end to make a little point in the center.
Bake for 1-1 ½ hours, or until dry and crisp and easy to lift off the paper.
From the book: “Egg: Recipes” by Blanche Vaughan; 208 pages, $ 29.99. Published by Harper Design, 2016.
What you get: This collection covers egg basics, as well as recipes for breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, desserts, sauces and drinks.
In her own words: “Despite eggs being one of the most familiar ingredients in the kitchen, I am constantly surprised, delighted and inspired by the variety of recipes they can produce, and I hope you will be, too.” — Blanche Vaughan
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