"These simple meringues can be served alone or used to make a dessert with a chocolate filling," says Waters. We've sandwiched ours with Waters' chocolate ganache (see recipe in Note).
- 1/3 cup almond kernels
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- ¾ cup sugar
- 5 eggwhites, at room temperature
- 1/3 tsp cream of tartar
- For dusting: icing sugar
- 1Make a template for the meringues by using a 5cm-diameter cutter and tracing 24 circles (make 4 rows of 6) onto a piece of baking paper cut to fit a 33cm x 45cm baking tray.
- 2Preheat oven to 175C. Scatter almonds and hazelnuts over separate baking trays. Toast almonds in the oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until light golden, then cool completely. Toast hazelnuts at the same time (they may take 2-3 minutes longer, depending on their size). Tip onto a clean tea towel, wrap loosely and cool for 2-3 minutes, then rub skins off using tea towel and allow to cool completely.
- 3Reduce oven to 160C. Grind almonds in a coffee or spice grinder until they resemble fine coffee grounds. (If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a food processor, but it will take longer; 2-3 minutes, and the grind will be coarser.) Transfer ground almonds to a medium mixing bowl. Then finely grind hazelnuts with ¼ cup sugar and combine with ground almonds.
- 4Whisk eggwhites in a bowl with a pinch of salt and cream of tartar until foamy, then gradually add remaining sugar, whisking continuously until firm, glossy peaks form. Gently fold half the eggwhite into the nut mixture, then fold in remaining eggwhite until there are no white streaks visible.
- 5Spoon half the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle. Line a baking tray with the prepared template and cover with another piece of baking paper (you should still be able to see the traced circles through the upper piece of paper). Pipe meringue mixture onto each circle, starting at the centre and spiralling outwards. The thickness of should be relatively even. Use a spatula to smooth tops. Pull out the template from under the sheet of meringues, place it on another baking tray, cover with another piece of baking paper, and repeat, refilling the piping bag until all the mixture is used. Depending on how thick you pipe the meringues you will end up with about 3 sheets. Dust the meringues with icing sugar, let them dry for 10-15 minutes, then bake until evenly brown (15-20 minutes). Cool on a rack.
- 6Meringues should lift off the baking paper without sticking; if they stick, put them back in the oven and bake for a few more minutes until they come away from the paper easily. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to a month.
Note For chocolate ganache, chop 200gm bittersweet chocolate and place in a small bowl. Bring ½ cup cream to the boil, then pour onto the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt into the cream for 1 minute. Working from the centre of the bowl out, slowly stir until all combined into a shiny mixture. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag with a small tip. Place half the meringues on the bench, smooth side up, and pipe a dollop of ganache 2.5cm in diameter onto the centre of each. Sandwich with remaining meringues, pressing gently to spread out the ganache. This recipe is from The Art of Simple Food II ($40, hbk) by Alice Waters, published by Clarkson Potter and reproduced with GT style changes.
Drink Suggestion: A sweet muscat. Drink suggestion by Max Allen