April 1st, 2009

giant_cocoa_meringue

Giant Cocoa and Cinnamon Meringues

These giant meringues take me back to the Millennium when I lived in Fulham. Most Sunday mornings I used to walk down Fulham Road towards Sloane Square to have breakfast at Baker and Spice.

I loved the atmosphere with the big rustic wooden table in the middle of the room,surrounded by the windowsills stacked with all sorts of mouth-watering delights. Amongst the display were giant meringues. I often bought one and nibbled it as I walked back home. Lovely memories.

The Baker and Spice inspired me to have a go at making these huge joyful fluffy pillows of sugary eggy air laced with bitter cocoa and cinnamon.

They are still one of my weaknesses, just like the good old days. They are just simply yummy!

Eat them when you are on your own as they do make a bit of a mess and you do look slightly silly with cocoa powder and bits of meringue all over you face and front. They taste extra special with a good cup of coffee.

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These giant meringues look spectacular and make an outstanding display. It’s quite funny how some people remember you for making a specific recipe or dish. I met up with an old friend last week and we were talking about the giant meringues that I used to make.

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  • 400g large egg whites (approximately 10 large eggs)
  • 800g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25g Bitter Cocoa
  • 1 large cinnamon stick

It’s very easy to make meringues but as I have quite a few years experience I have discovered a few tricks along the way to guarantee a success every time.

Follow the formula to make the meringues. Always weigh the egg whites and double the amount of sugar in ratio to the egg whites.

Preheat the oven to 110°C and line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

Ground the cinnamon stick until completely powdered in the thermomix; sieve the cinnamon to remove any remaining large bits. Mix the powdered cinnamon with the cocoa powder.

Place the egg whites, salt and sugar in a large saucepan.

Cover your hands with clean disposable gloves.

Place the saucepan over a very low and small flame to gently heat the egg whites and to melt the sugar. Stick your hand into the egg and sugar mixture and stir it continuously, this might sound ludicrous but is very important.

By using your hands you can control the heat, as you should not heat the egg whites and sugar above 37°C.

Stir it all the time to help dissolve the sugar.

Once the temperature has reached 37°C, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the whites to an electric mixer with a balloon whisk.

Whip the warm egg whites until thick ribbon stage; the meringue must hold its shape.

Remove the bowl from the machine, and sieve the cocoa powder and ground cinnamon over the meringue.

Use two large spoons to scoop a large spoonful of the mixture, scoop deep to get a ripple effect of cocoa and meringue. Do not be tempted to mix the cocoa in as you will spoil your rustic cocoa effect.Please do not mix!!

Drop the heaped spoonful of meringue onto the prepared baking trays.

Leave sufficient gaps as they swell when they cook.

The more the hot air that can circulate around the meringues,the more even they will bake.

Ensure that all the mixture is spooned onto the trays.

Place the giant meringues in the preheated oven, leave a large gap between the shelves and rotate the trays half way through cooking.

Bake the meringues for two hours.

Check that they are cooked by touching their outsides, it they are firm on the outside but still slightly gooey in the centre then they are done.

Let them cool for 10 minutes on the trays before you gently transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Keep the meringues in an airtight container for up to three days.

Makes approximately 10 -12 giant meringues

Food Fanatics Tips
Experiment with the flavours. Chopped nuts such as pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and pecan nuts works well. Lemon and orange zest makes a lovely zingy citrusy twist or use chicory or coffee flavourings for a slightly exotic and moody fragrance. Saffron and sultanas take you back to the Middle East.


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23 Comments to “Giant Cocoa and Cinnamon Meringues”

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  1. Penel says:

    I have just made these and used eggs that were very old but still safe (did the eggs in water test!). They turned out brilliantly and it was so simple. I whisked mine using a Kitchen Aid after the initial sugar dissolving stage and whisked until meringue was cold. No cracking and lovely meringues. Thank you Madalene.

  2. lexi says:

    Hi! this is such a great recipe, my meringues taste heavenly, my only problem is that they are cracking quite badly when they bake! my over has been on a very low temperature so i dont think it is from an over heated oven, any suggestions?!

  3. Madalene says:

    Hi Lexi,

    That happened to me several times in the past to an extend that it drives me crazy. I have enlisted the help of a pastry chef friend of mine who told me that the egg whites has to be at least two days old, crack the eggs, separate the whites and leave them in a clean container in the fridge covered and when you are ready to make your meringues you will not have as much trouble. I know this sounds daft however he recons if the eggs are too fresh then the protein is too loose and if a few days old then the ‘moisture’ evaporates and the egg protein becomes tighter. I now make all my meringues with two day old egg whites and have success every-time. Another factor is that you have to ensure your sugar is completely dissolved, this may also cause cracking.
    Happy baking,
    Maddy

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