When I made the Swedish Summer Cake, I had 4 egg whites left over. The Goddess urged me to make coffee toffee meringues with them (check out the recipe in Kitchen). I thought about it, but at the time, regrettably, it would have been a step too far. I put the egg whites in the freezer and vowed that I would remember that the old marge tub covered in cling film (because I’d lost the lid) contained 4 egg whites, and that I was going to use them for this purpose.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. We returned from scout camp yesterday, exhausted and totally minging, but having had a great time. It did of course help that the sun shone solidly, but it was a great week.
In a move to combat the post-camp exhaustion, the decision was taken that on return yesterday, all the kit would just be dumped in the scout hut and we would go back this afternoon for clean up, followed by a BBQ at ours to drink all the booze we wished we could have drunk while we were supervising our charges. That’s not to say we didn’t have the odd ‘lemonade’ but with 22 10-14 year olds in your care, restraint is most definitely required.
Bearing that in mind, you’ll understand when I say that I over-achieved on the wine front last night, 2 loads of washing down, and trying to stay awake long enough to see Team GB’s entry into the amazing Olympic Opening Ceremony last night. It was not to be – I gave up round about Ecuador – but still woke up with a reasonably thick head and a trip to the supermarket in mind.
I had remembered the coffee toffee meringue, but decided that individual puddings would not work today, partly because I had no idea quite how many people would be coming. So then I thought, Pavlova. During my reasonably stress-free trip round the supermarket (mainly because the kids stayed at home so I was free to amble round and get distracted by the cookery books section) I noticed that they actually had some nectarines which were genuinely ripe. And some apricots. “I expect those would taste good with toffee sauce” I thought. Clearly, a week of bashing out uncomplicated crowd pleasers on the food front, and lashings of tinned rice pudding and custard (which I LOVE, don’t get me wrong) have left me hankering for a good tinker in the kitchen. A plan formed.
Working on the coffee toffee idea, but consulting Forever Summer for all things pavlova (in particular the recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova – which I probably should make another time because it looks scrummy), I came up with a coffee meringue topped with cream, nectarines, apricots and toffee sauce. I decided to go for a couple of extra egg whites in the meringue (I’ll use the yolks in a quiche), and have fiddled around with the quantities accordingly, to make:
Ingredients: 30g butter, 150g golden syrup, 100g light brown sugar, 720 ml double cream (yes, I know it’s a pain to get that amount), 250g caster sugar, 3 teaspoons instant coffee powder, pinch of cream of tartar, 6 egg whites, 50g toasted chopped hazelnuts, 4 ripe peaches/nectarines, 320g apricots
Method: First make the toffee sauce. In a small pan, and over a low heat, melt together the butter, syrup and 50g of the light brown sugar, occasionally swirling the pan around. When melted, bring to the boil and bubble the mixture for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 120 ml of the double cream then set aside to cool.
For the meringue, pre-heat the oven to 1800C, and line a baking tray with baking parchment on the underside of which you have drawn a circle approx 23 cm in diameter to act as a guide for forming the disc of meringue. Mix together the caster sugar, the rest of the light brown sugar (50g), the coffee powder and the cream of tartar in a bowl. The soft brown sugar may clump a bit so try and get all the lumps out first.Whisk the egg whites till they start to go to the soft peak stage, then carry on whisking adding the sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time, till you have a glossy, thick meringue. Carefully mound the meringue into the middle of the circle (you should be able to see it on the baking paper) then spread to form a fat disc that will be approx 23 cm in diameter. Sprinkle 20g of the chopped hazelnuts on top of the meringue mixture, then put the baking tray in to the oven, immediately reducing the heat to 1500.
Cook for an hour or so (it may need a little longer) till the meringue is dry on the outside and perhaps a little cracked, but still feels like it might be squidgy on the inside. Leave to cool.
To assemble, place the meringue disc on whatever you are going to serve it on. Whip the remaining 600 ml of double cream so that it is firm enough to be spread and to hold the fruit, but still reasonably soft. Chop up the fruit into reasonably small chunks - you could peel it first, but I wasn’t in the mood. Spread the cream over the meringue, top with the fruit and sprinkle over the remaining hazlenuts. Drizzle over about half (or whatever you think looks good) the now cooled toffee sauce. Serve with the remaining toffee sauce on the side.
I wanted to take a picture to show you what a slice lookes like, but it got eaten too quickly. This served a slice each for 14 adults with a small bit left over, and at least 3 people fought to lick the remains of the toffee sauce out of the jug. You know who you are...
Forever Nigella again, for the July 'Sizzling Summer' event. It's hosted by Amy at Cooking, Cakes andChildren for Sarah from Maison Cupcake
I'm also adding this to the link on Scottish Mum blog for the Funky Foodies. for July.