05 August 2015

Vanilla Meringue with a Summer Berry Compote

There was laundry to fold and some other mindless chores to be done. The wind was howling through the trees and the rain was pelting off the windows. I remembered fondly, back to those few days in May when we had sunshine and it felt like the universe had aligned and summer was coming to Ireland. 

But then it didn't. 

Summer decided it was too good for us, or got lazy or got completely lost on it's way and never came at all. And all I wanted the other evening, was for it to feel like summer. 

So I rounded up inventory and figured I could make meringue. Meringue is a perfect summer treat. It doesn't get any easier than meringue (especially when your inventory was quite low and you really couldn't have been bothered traipsing to the shops in the aforementioned weather). But meringue nests with their crispy, chewy shells, filled with soft whipped cream and drizzled in a Summer Berry Compote have summer written all over them. It looks like summer and tastes like summer. 

I started with a handful of strawberries and raspberries, because that's what I had in my fridge. Compote is like the lazy guys jam. It takes no time to prepare, put together in a pan, pop over the heat and then you let the berries do the work. If your berries are a tad sour, throw in a spoonful or two of sugar. I added some vanilla seeds to mine just to sweeten the whole deal, so to speak!

Meringue: Makes at least 6 large meringue nests.

3 egg whites at room temperature.
1/4 teaspoon cornflour
180g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 110 C, 230 F or 1/2 a gas mark.
Separate your egg whites from their yolks and put into a clean, dry bowl. (Tip: if your egg whites aren't room temperature, pop them in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 10 minutes before your separate them.)
Add the cornflour and whisk together until doubled in volume. Having the egg white at room temperature will help with adding volume.
Add the sugar in 3 batches, about a quarter of a cup or 60g. Wait until the previous batch has been fully incorporated and has made the egg whites shiny and sticky before adding your next batch.
At the end, fold in your vanilla and spoon out onto a lined baking tray. Make a divet or hole in the middle, using the back of your spoon.
Bake on the bottom rack for one hour. Switching off the oven after the hour, and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven, with the door closed.

Summer Berry Compote: This is the recipe I usually use. (The quantities were different for the bake above as I only had half as much fruit available to me!)

220g of strawberries
220g raspberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-4 teaspoons sugar (or to your taste)

Place the strawberries, raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a pan over a medium heat and let them all break down into one glorious juicy mess or a compote over the next 5-10 minutes.
No need to stir, just give the pan a little whirl now and then!
Taste, (Tip: mind you don't burn your tongue!) and add a little more sugar if you want it sweeter.
Transfer to a clean bowl or jar and allow to cool.

Soft whip some fresh cream and dollop a nice spoonful into the centre. Top with your cooled compote. Share among your friends or keep them all to yourself.. the choice is yours my friend.

Whatever you decide, enjoy it. And what's left of the "summer" months!

1 comment:

  1. Hazel! You have me drooling!! Might be blueberry compote here later :) Sooooo yummy looking!!


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