Monday, 24 February 2014

Coffee Meringue Biscuits - Simple, Tasty, Gluten Free

I decided to create a little meringue biscuit inspired by Nigella Lawson's Cappuccino Pavlova with a Vintage Movement twist - which basically means using easy to find pantry ingredients... I'm not one of those people who loves grocery shopping at the best of times so it has to be easy and on hand!.

These little meringue cookies are a great dessert, afternoon tea or special occasion offering and require egg whites, sugar, instant coffee granules (Espresso powder is best but can be hard to find), pinch salt, cocoa, vanilla extract and a touch of warm water.

For this recipe I used 
3 egg whites at room temperature
1 & 1/4 cups sugar ( I used raw caster sugar)
Pinch salt
1.5 tsp approx instant coffee granules ( Espresso powder if available 1 tsp ish)
2 tsp dutch cocoa (I love the strong flavour.. you can use any kind of cocoa you have available)
Piping bag fitted with a round tipped nozzle (optional you can also spoon the mix onto the bakers paper)
1 tsp vanilla extract (essence is also fine and vanilla pods are great)

Preheat your oven to 110 deg. Celsius

1.Separate your egg whites and transfer to your clean and dry mixing bowl then beat till just frothy and add a pinch of salt and continue mixing. 
2. Once the mix hits the soft peak stage start adding your sugar 1 tablespoon at a time
3. While the meringue is still mixing make a thick but smooth liquid like paste with your coffee granules and a tiny bit of warm water... you are looking for dissolved granules with a shiny melted chocolate like consistency. The reason you don't want to add too much water is that it will collapse your meringue peaks.
4. Add 2 tsps cocoa and 1 tsp of the coffee paste and the vanilla. I added a bit more of the coffee paste to the mix for my batch so add a little more if you prefer a stronger flavour. Espresso power is perfect for this recipe if you have it available - no need to add the water with this powder you just add about half to one teaspoon. If you want to taste the mix before finishing you could heat a pan and pop a little in then once cooked through taste and adjust cocoa and coffee to taste. 
5. Fill your piping bag with the mixture and pipe rounds to your desired size on a lined baking sheet (I piped 2 inch rounds and got about 15-20 from this batch). They spread a bit so its best to leave space between. 
6. Place on the bottom shelf in the oven and cook for approx 30 mins depending on your oven. I took mine out when they no longer wiggled on the baking paper.

Using the yolks
A great way to use the left over egg yolks is to make custard to serve with the biscuits... I decided to add a bit of Kahlua and a bit of the left over coffee paste to my custard.
To make simply take a bowl and place the 3 yolks, 1/8 -1/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it), 1 tbsp custard powder and mix. Then in a separate pan heat 1 cup milk and 1 vanilla pod (or 2 tsp vanilla extract) till hot. When the milk is hot add it to the bowl housing the egg/sugar mixture (vanilla pod excluded) and whisk well then return it all to the pan and whisk continually over the stove till the mixture thickens. Add 1 tsp of Kahlua and half tsp of coffee paste to taste (feel free to add more if you like, from memory I did)... you can also add a few tablespoons of cream for a richer taste. Serve the custard with the meringue biscuits and a small dollop of cream... this is basically my play on the age old Eton Mess. This makes about 1-1.5 cups of custard.

 Yes there were air pockets and cracks but they tasted great just the same!. If you want avoid the cracks on top leave the piped mixture to form a skin before baking just like you do before baking macrons.


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