mini meringues with strawberries passionfruit & cream

22nd April 2012

This post was written way back this exact time last year and sat in my drafts waiting patiently to be posted.  And finally a year later, another Spring and with all the family once again here, I ask myself, where did that time go?

Spring is here.

The doors and windows are wide open and the scent of jasmine fills the house.  The jasmine vine is in full flower, so delicate and fragile and pure, these flowers are white gems. I have planted so much of it, all different types and the garden and house is filled with the intoxicating glorious scent.  Just the enchanting scent refreshes the heart and soul, while at the same time leaves you with a feeling of softness and calmness.

Its smell takes me back to India, where one of the traditions is centred around the act of giving and these aromatic jasmine garlands.  The garlands are seen everywhere strung around rickshaw lights, doorways, in the women’s hair, and are sold by men pushing or riding bicycles.  There are big baskets filled high with jasmine flowers in the market where the Indian women in their beautiful sari sit quietly and weave simple or elaborate garlands to sell.  They are used as daily offerings in temples, and they adorn the images of Indian deities.

jasmin-basket

This is the month my daughter, Yasmin was born.  ‘Yasmin’ – my fragrant flower.  Jasmine flowers and fresh strawberries I associate with March, and her birthday cake is always lavishly decorated with both.  It finds its way into our hair and in vases throughout the house.  We make garlands and sprinkle our bath with these flowers.

Last year, my daughter had just turned 12, and each year we have a ritual of making her favourite two birthday cakes.  I can’t remember how it came about that it was to be two birthday cakes.  Maybe because they are so equally delicious that we could never decide on just one, or which one.  Each year we make the chocolate roulade and these meringues, which we pile high with whipped cream, strawberries and a passionfruit sauce.  So light and full of texture.   And oh so good!!!

Turning 12 is a very special juncture in the Jewish tradition for a girl, or 13 for a boy, moving from childhood to adulthood.  As my teacher wrote in his blessing for her, “It is a year where the journey of realisation of truth starts.”   With the help of Anna and Leon, we created a blessing book for Yasmin where all her family and friends wrote a heartfelt blessing to guide her later in life.  And as part of my blessing, I put in this meringue recipe as it is associated with her and her birthday.  We make them together working side by side in the kitchen.  Mother and daughter.

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Depending on the occasion, I sometimes make these individually, or I make one big, round meringue which I fill and cut as if it were a cake.

With all meringues, the success of a good meringue depends on the use of room temperature eggs and very clean, grease-free utensils.

mini meringues

Makes 18 mini meringues

ingredients :

4 large eggs – room temperature

1 cup fine sugar

1 tsp white vinegar

½ Tblsp cornstarch

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 punnet whipping cream

extra ½ tsp vanilla extract

fresh strawberries (raspberries, or in Summer – mangos)

8 fresh passion fruits

preparation :

Pre-heat the oven to 150C/ 275F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed.  Beat until the egg whites form soft peaks.

Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, a tablespoon at a time.  Your egg whites should now be glossy and form stiff peaks.

Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue, and fold gently with a plastic spatula.  Add the vanilla, and gently fold the mixture again.

Now gently spread the meringue in 3″ circles on the lined baking sheet.  Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the centre so you have a very slight well in the middle.  The edges should be 1.5 inches tall.

Bake the meringues for about 50 to 60 minutes.  They should be crispy on the outside with a slightly chewy, marshmallow centre.

Turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringues cool completely.  As the meringues cool, they will crack slightly, which gives them the perfect hole to put the whipped cream in.

Just before serving, take the meringues out of the oven.  Remove them gently from the baking sheet and place on plates.

Whip the cream with the extra vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks.  Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing.  Scoop out the pulp of the passionfruit and place in a serving jug.

Fill with cream, dollop with strawberries and drizzle with the passionfruit sauce.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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