Cranberry MeringuesIssue: Section:
You can’t tell me upon seeing the title for this entry and recipe you didn’t immediately break out singing, Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”.
I don’t want to scare you away but determined as I was, it took me 3, THREE attempts to get meringue making right so you’re guaranteed to have a smooth sail making these ethereal beauties.
Here’s the inspiration for Cranberry Meringues: My newly obsessed with Nantucket friend rented a car with her sight set on visiting the island (again) for a weekend. It happened to be the weekend the Nantucket Conservation Foundation holds their one day, annual Cranberry Festival fund raiser.
For dinner that night I served up two salt crusted red snappers, my secret special cranberry sauce, roasted veg & a fennel & orange salad and someone brought an apple cranberry pie & ice cream. Cleaning up after dinner I looked over at 1/2 a bowl of seasoned soft peaked egg whites and the cranberry sauce I stashed away for another meal. I could eat my cranberry sauce on softly scrambled eggs, toast, ANYTHING. That was it. I folded the left over cranberry sauce into the left over egg whites and spooned the mixture on to a baking tray. An hour later we had ourselves a tray of uneatable meringues. I knew I’d be making cranberry meringues.
There are a number of factors to keep in mind that makes making meringues foolproof 1. The egg whites should be room temperature. 2. The sugar needs to be very fine.
3. Gradually add the sugar once you have the egg whites at a soft peak. 4. Warm the sugar in the 200° preheating oven. I did this after reading umpteen recipes one of which is Ottolenghi’s.
Adamant not to use white, castor or confectioner’s sugar I blended 1/2 cup of Florida Crystals on puree in my compact Cuisinart for about 20-30 seconds 4Xs then warmed the finely blended Florida Crystals on a baking tray with parchment in a 200° oven for about 10 minutes. I’m not sure this is so vital - as long as the sugar is very fine and added gradually once you’ve got soft peaks.
Simple format recipe for Cranberry Meringues
Preheated 200° oven
Baking pan with parchment paper or non stick
3 room temperature EGG WHITES
1/8 t creme of tartar
3/4 cup of warm, finely ground all natural sugar
1/2 - 1 C - cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, nuts, WHAT HAVE YOU
I hand whisked the room temperature egg whites & creme of tarter. If you have a stand blender with a whisk attachment - aren’t you lucky. I went at this with furor & determination with my trusty ol’ electric hand mixer I’ve had since college and the largest bowl I have which probably isn’t optimally large enough but I still got meringues.
Once the egg whites have come to a soft peak gradually add the sugar, incorporating it each time until the sugar is fully dissolved. You’ll see stiffer peaks forming and the color & texture glisten.
Sprinkle or gently fold in what ever you’d like or work with the meringue as you would a blank canvas
With two spoons I dropped the meringues onto the parchment lined baking tray.
I popped that in the 200° preheated oven and kept the door ajar with a wooden spoon for 2 hours. Letting the meringues cool is also important.
The bottoms of this batch are sticking to the parchment but I think that’s because I didn’t use enough sugar. I wrote the recipe calling for 3/4 Cs of sugar. I used 1/2 C of sugar to 3 egg whites. The more sugar, the crispier the meringues. These are looking a bit chewy and marshmallow textured. Meringues are suppose to cool on a rack. I don’t have this. Let’s hope cooling them on a plate will help them firm up and ease getting them onto a plate or into a box. These are destined for my Thanksgiving Chanukah table with friends & family.
Let me tell ya. It’s a great bowl to lick.