Last year I had the good fortune of visiting Poh’s gorgeous little cafe Jamface at the Adelaide Central Markets (see here). And I have a “thing” for meringues, especially when they look crispy and crunchy, which is just how I like them … and Poh’s certainly didn’t disappoint!
Since then I have wanted to play with my Pavlova recipe (see here) to try and replicate what I had at Poh’s. What I have learned though is that to get a crispy and crunchy meringue you need a lot of sugar! Whilst I have nothing against sugar (or should I say “real” sugar), there is a limit to what I am comfortable using in any given recipe.
So I ended up working with my base recipe and changed a couple of things to see if it made a difference. And I am so happy to say that the last couple of meringue bakes have been just how I like them … crispy on the outside, nice and marshmallowy on the inside.
Soon I will also revisit my Pavlova recipe to see if I can get a better crust vs marshmallow inside. I am not going to change the recipe that is currently on the website as I know many people like the Pavlova just as it is, but I will put up a “Version 2” for those who may wish to try it.
The main changes to my current processes are:
- Including the cornflour that I normally mix in at the end, into the golden caster sugar before I add it to the meringue … this ensures that the cornflour is evenly distributed throughout the meringue which helps to stabilise it, but also helps create a “buffer” so that the meringue does not overcook, and assists in developing the marshmallow interior … the important point is not to use too much otherwise you will get a “floury” taste which is not pleasant
- Making sure I use just 6 egg whites, so that the amount of sugar I incorporate is the right amount for the number of egg whites in the recipe (55g sugar per egg white … so 6 whites x 55g sugar per white = 330g sugar total) … this is important to get the right amount of crunchy outside
- I used a “conventional” oven and not a “fan forced” oven, and reduced the temperature to 120 degrees conventional (which is equivalent to 100 degrees fan forced), and baked the meringue for a longer time … this helped to “dry out” the meringue slowly and ensured a nice even light colour on the outside
You can serve the meringues however you wish, but for our luncheon tomorrow I am serving them with a dollop of beaten cream (which I will flavour with a little light muscovado sugar), along with a drizzle of Butterscotch Sauce (see here), and a decent sprinkle of Maple Roasted Pecans (see here).
The recipe will make 8 to 9 meringues depending on how large you like to make them … the cooking time is exactly the same for both options.
You will need a large baking tray so that the meringues are all on one level in the oven … if you don’t have one consider investing in one as they are so handy when making biscuits and the like (as you only have to bake one tray).
The process for making the meringues is super easy, but get everything ready before you start so that you can follow the recipe smoothly. Also ensure you do a vinegar clean beforehand (see main Pavlova recipe here) as any hint of fat in the bowl will affect your meringue.
During testing I checked different batches of the meringues over a few days to see how well they kept … I was pleased to note that the surface stayed quite crisp, although this did diminish slightly as the days wore on. So I feel confident saying that you can make these a couple of days ahead, as long as you store them in a sealed container. This is mighty helpful when entertaining, especially during the festive season.
And one last thing, I used Dutch cocoa powder for this recipe … it worked perfectly just folding it through the meringue for both colour, effect (due to it’s strong dark colour) and flavour, as it is not bitter like raw cacao or plain cocoa powder, so I strongly recommend you do the same (Plaistowe do a nice one which is easily available from the supermarkets).
- 330g golden castor sugar (or plain castor sugar)
- 1 tbls cornflour
- 6 egg whites (approximately 210g)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp Dutch cocoa powder
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp icing sugar mixture
- Preheat oven to 120 degrees (conventional … not fan forced)
- Arrange rack into middle of the oven
- Line a large baking sheet with baking paper
- Combine the “extra”cornflour and icing sugar and use a small sieve to sprinkle over the tray (this will help create a firm base to the meringues and will release them easily from the tray once baked)
- Mix 330g sugar and 1 tbls cornflour together and put aside near your TM
- Mix vanilla extract and vinegar together and put aside near your TM
- Have a large bowl ready to put the meringue into once it is made, along with a large off-set spatula or knife to fold the cocoa through it
- Place 2 tsp Dutch cocoa into a small container, and put it beside a small sieve ready to sprinkle evenly over the meringue … place it beside the bowl
- You are now ready to start on the meringue
- Insert butterfly into TM bowl
- Place eggs whites and cream of tartar into bowl and whip 5 minutes / 37 degrees / speed 3.5 / no MC
- Set blades to 6 minutes /37 degrees / speed 3 / no MC and with blades rotating add the sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated … this should take you approximately 3 minutes … at this point pause the machine, and with a thin spatula scrape down the sides into the base of the bowl in a couple of spots to release any air bubble that has developed … this will allow the mix to drop a little … replace lid and continue mixing for the final 3 minutes
- Remove lid, stir around top of bowl and create a small space around the top of the butterfly … pour in the vanilla and vinegar mix and blend 15 seconds / speed 3
- Transfer mix into a separate bowl and lightly level the top so that you can get an even distribution of the cocoa powder
- Use the small sieve to sprinkle the cocoa powder over the meringue, then use an offset spatula or large knife to gently swirl the cocoa through the meringue (do not overdo it as you want to see streaks of cocoa)
- Using two large spoons place 8 or 9 dollops of meringue onto baking tray ensuring there is some space between each for spreading (I use two spoonful’s per meringue)
- Place tray into oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes – do not open door of the oven to have a peek as it is important to keep the temperature as constant as possible
- Switch off oven and leave to cool for approximately 6 hours until the oven is completely cold (overnight is good)
- Remove meringues from oven and place into a sealed container until ready to serve
- Meringues keep well for three to four days in a sealed container, but will slowly become less “crispy” as times goes on
- Serve as desired