Meringues in their own right are natty little things: don't you think? They're one of the simplest (and best) ways I can think of to use the inevitable egg whites remaining when one makes many of those ethereal French creations (hollandaise, béarnaise, aioli...), because I hate wasting anything, especially when the girls work so hard to provide us with our beautiful eggs. And then they can be flavoured with such a myriad of wonderful things; orange, chocolate, rose, coconut, lemongrass...the possibilities are endless. A while ago, inspired by a friend, I added some fresh hazelnut meal to the stiffened whites - and served them with fresh raspberries, whipped cream, and a grating of very dark chocolate - it was love at first bite.
Hazelnut Meringues with Raspberries and Chocolate
Makes four to six meringues
2 large, organic egg whites
100g golden caster sugar
50g roasted hazelnuts, processed or finely chopped
Beat whites hard for several minutes until thick and stiff. Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat to incorporate until the sugar has dissolved. Gently fold in hazelnut, being careful not to lose the air in the whites.
Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper and preheat oven to 120C. Spoon four to six large circles onto the baking paper and flatten a little with the back of the spoon. Bake for 1 - 1.5 hours (until crisp on the outside and hollow when tapped).
Serve with a pile of fresh raspberries, freshly whipped cream, and a few gratings the darkest and best chocolate you can find.
- Meringues will keep for a few days in an airtight container
- Pistachios, almonds, chestnuts (or any other nuts) make a lovely alternative to hazelnuts