Soft Meringue, Blackcurrant Coulis and Marshmallow
Soft Meringue, Blackcurrant Coulis and Marshmallow Serves 12 guests
For the Soft Meringue (makes 12 to 14 Meringues): 100g 3 egg whites, free-range/organic, medium 100g caster sugar 50g icing sugar, sieved
For the Blackcurrant Coulis: 300g blackcurrants 90g caster sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit
For the Vanilla Whipped Cream: 1 teaspoon vanilla purée (see basic recipe) or vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence 150g whipping cream or double cream
To serve: Vanilla Ice Cream Blackcurrant Marshmallow Cubes (optional – see below for recipe)
To make the meringue: Preheat the oven to 110°C. In an electric mixer on full power, whisk the egg whites to stiff shiny peaks, adding the caster sugar little by little. Remove the bowl from the machine. Using a spatula, gently fold in the sieved icing sugar. There are two ways to shape your meringue. 1. Take the meringue on a large spoon and let it create its own architecture, or; 2. Place a large plain nozzle (12-15mm diameter) in a piping bag and fill it with the meringue mixture. Line a baking tray with silicone paper, sticking down each corner with a bit of mixture. Using a 6-7cm diameter x 4cm deep ring, pipe approximately 12-14 even domes of meringue. When piping, each time dip the ring quickly in [CHECK: HOT WATER AND PLACE IT ON SILICONE PAPER AND PIPE HALF] cold water to prevent the mixture from sticking to it. Fill the ring HALF OR TWO THIRDS full with meringue, then remove the ring and repeat for each dome. Bake the meringue in the preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, slide the paper with the meringues onto a cold tray to stop further cooking. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer the meringues to the freezer for at least 1 hour. Freezing the meringues gives them a fresh taste and reduces the sweetness. Beware, these meringues are extraordinarily fragile so be very careful when moving them, even when frozen. To make the Blackcurrant Coulis: Put 50g of the blackcurrants to one side – they will be used as a garnish. Blend the remaining 250g blackcurrants and sugar to a puree. Pass the puree through a fine sieve, pressing well using a ladle. Reserve. To make the Vanilla Whipped Cream: Whip the cream to soft peaks. Stir in the vanilla purée (or vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence). Reserve in the fridge.
To serve: Spoon 2 tablespoons of vanilla whipped cream in the centre of the bowl. Around the cream, create a lovely circle with the coulis. Add a few marshmallows, if using. And for total bliss – why not – spoon a scoop of vanilla ice cream onto the meringue dome. You can also splash a few drops of blackcurrants, and roll them in caster sugar.
For the Blackcurrant Marshmallow Cubes (Optional) (Makes about 150 cubes) 200g Blackcurrant Fruit Purée (made with 320-350g fresh fruits simmered, blitzed and sieved) 13g (8 leaves) gelatine leaves, platinum grade soaked in a large amount of cold water and drained 545g caster sugar 240ml water 75g (2 each) egg whites 20g caster sugar 2 drops lemon juice 100g icing sugar 100g cornflour Heat half the purée to about 60ºC, stir in the softened gelatine leaves and pour back into the remaining purée. In a medium pan on a medium heat, cook the sugar with the water to 115ºC. While the sugar is cooking, whisk the egg whites in a mixer on medium speed, with the 20g caster sugar and lemon juice. Whisk the blackcurrant purée into the cooked sugar and fold it into the meringue. Increase the mixer speed to full and whisk until cool (37ºC). Approximately 15-20 minutes. Lightly grease a silicone mat and place on it a confectionary frame 25x33x2cm deep. Pour the mixture into the frame and spread out evenly. Cover with another silicone mat and leave to set for 1 hour. Remove the frame and reserve the marshmallow sheet in the freezer on a tray, covered with cling film. Freezing will make it easier to cut and improve its shelf life. In a bowl, mix the cornflour and icing sugar. To cut the marshmallow, peel off the top silicone mat and, using a blade heated with a blowtorch, cut it into 2cm cubes. Wipe the blade with a damp cloth if the marshmallow begins to stick, and reheat. Roll the cubes as you cut them, 3 or 4 at a time, in the cornflour and icing sugar mixture. Dust away the excess, gently shaking a few at a time between your fingers. Reserve in an airtight container, preferably in a cool place. You will have too many for now, so keep the rest in the freezer, uncut, between sheets of silicone and wrapped in cling film. It is impossible to make a smaller quantity due to the amount of egg white (75g).