I'm a recent convert to 'the meringue'. That isn't to say that I don't love 'meringue'. I do. Very much so. Lemon meringue pie, baked Alaska, pavlova... I love almost any sort of dessert that incorporates meringue. A stand-alone meringue however, is a different story. I have never really understood the point of eating a meringue on its own. Even sandwiched together with cream, I've always been rather underwhelmed. I've always felt that meringues needed something else to cut through all the sugar be it a scattering of summer berries or a dollop of lemon curd swirled through the cream.
Recently though, in an attempt to shed some pounds, I have been trying to embrace 'the meringue'. It is, in some ways, the dieter's friend. Ok, ok, it is heavy to sugar. But it is also low in fat - hurrah! A short while ago, Mr LBF cooked a fabulous post-curry dessert from the Hairy Bikers Great Curries cook book involving divine pistachio meringues with raspberries and whipped double cream. The meringues were absolutely fantastic and I have been craving them ever since.
In a serendipitous twist of fate, whilst doing the weekly supermarket shop last week, I found myself purchasing a tube of freeze-dried raspberries. For no particular reason. Just 'as you do'. I had no particular plan for these shocking-pink morsels but simply felt I had to have them in my storecupboard 'just in case'. It suddenly dawned on me that the pistachio meringues could be the ideal destination for my freeze-dried raspberries. Pistachios and raspberries are, in my mind, a match made in heaven. For a start, I love green and pink together (my wedding flowers were all greens and pinks). Secondly, I just think that they work well.
|Pink and green; a match made in heaven!|
I ground the pistachios up with the raspberries to fine crumbs and folded them through the meringue mixture before sprinkling a little of each on top. The resulting meringues are a new favourite. Crisp on the outside and fantastically chewy in the middle. Importantly, the flavour of pistachio and raspberry really come through with the tartness of raspberry a welcome antidote to the sugary meringue itself. I served these with low-fat yoghurt and fresh raspberries but this was actually a mistake. These meringues are so good that they deserve to be eaten as a stand-alone treat. Whilst some lightly whipped double cream couldn't be wrong here, I really enjoyed these meringues on their own. So much so that I cannot bring myself to admit how many Mr LBG and I consumed in one sitting.
Another joy about meringues is that whilst they take a long time to cook, they are very speedy to prepare and ideal for a make ahead dessert for guests. I reckon that these were ready to go into the oven in about 15 minutes from start to finish. As such, I am submitting them to the Dead Easy Desserts challenge, hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake. Entrants must blog a dessert that has a preparation time of fewer than 30 minutes.
Here is the recipe, with thanks to the Hairy Bikers for the initial idea...
Pistachio and raspberry meringues
Makes approx 9 medium-large meringues
3 large egg whites
150g white caster sugar
25g shelled pistachio nuts, plus a few extra for sprinkling
2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberry pieces (like these), plus a few extra for sprinkling
1. Pre-heat oven to 125C (fan oven). Using a mini-processor or coffee/spice grinder, blitz the pistachios and raspberries until you have fine crumbs.
2. Using spotless equipment, whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until you have a lovely glossy mixture. Don't over-whisk.
3. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the pistachio/raspberry mix. A little streaking is good - it doesn't need to be thoroughly mixed and you don't want the meringue to lose too much volume in the mixing!
4. Dollop the mixture into free-form blobs onto baking sheets lined with baking parchment (not greaseproof paper) or silicone liner (my preference every time!). Or, get fancy and pipe the meringues into perfect swirls.
5. Sprinkle with a few finely chopped pistachios and a few nibs of the raspberries.
6. Place in the oven and immediately turn down to 100C. Cook for 2 hours then turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool in the oven. Do check the meringues half way through to check they are not browning - turn the oven down further if so.