Black Sesame Meringues
I usually don’t eat meringues but I find this in combination with kinako cream and my matcha panna cotta really hits the spot. The meringues are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside and the sweetness is offset by the panna cotta. This is loosely based on the meringue recipe in Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s “Sweet”. To serve with the panna cotta, I break the meringue into chunks and scatter around the panna cotta and pipe dollops of kinako cream on the plate.
100g egg white
160g caster sugar
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
17g black sesame seeds, toasted
Preheat the oven to 110 degrees Celsius (fan forced).
In the bowl of stand mixer, add egg whites and apple cider vinegar and whisk till foamy. Add in one tablespoon of caster sugar each time and wait a few seconds before adding next spoonful of sugar, do this till all the sugar is added. Add in a generous pinch of salt. Whisk till stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy and can hold its shape (approx. 5-8 minutes after adding all the sugar). The sugar should be fully dissolved.
Grind up three quarters of the toasted black sesame seeds (I use a Japanese mortar and pestle for this but you could use a spice grinder or a small food processor) and gently fold into the meringue along with some of the whole sesame seeds (remember to leave some of the black sesame seeds aside to sprinkle on top of the meringues).
Use a large serving spoon to spoon the meringue mixture onto a lined baking tray (my meringues are usually about 8cm wide). You can use a smaller spoon to create swirls and kinks on the surface of the meringue if you want interesting looking shapes. Make sure to leave space between the meringues because they do expand slightly. Bake for at least 90 minutes to have a chewy centre or 2 hours for a much drier meringue. I like to break one open to check the interior to see if it’s the way I like it before deciding if I’m going to take them out or not. After I decide they’re done, I usually turn off the oven, leave them in there with the door slightly ajar until the oven has fully cooled.
- If you scale this recipe up to make more meringues, I would suggest heating up the sugar in the oven prior to beating it into the egg whites because if there’s a lot of sugar to beat in, you’ll find it won’t dissolve properly before the egg whites reach stiff peak. Wendy from @theciaofandiary also suggested to me, grinding down the sugar to a finer consistency (obviously not into icing sugar) as another way to make sure it dissolves properly into the meringue.
- Corn starch can be added if you’re concerned that it’s a pretty humid day when you’re trying to make these (for the recipe above, I would add in 1 tsp of cornstarch after the egg whites have just reached stiff peaks). The corn starch absorbs any extra moisture and some people argue that it gives a more stable meringue.
- The usual ratio for meringues is 1:2 – weight of egg white: weight of caster sugar. I find meringues really sweet so the ratio I use above seems a reasonable compromise but if you like your meringue really stiff then you need to increase the amount of sugar.
- Supposedly you have to have the egg whites at room temperature but I’ve made this with egg whites straight from the fridge and it seems to work. If you’re going to heat up the sugar, then it’s probably a good idea to have the egg whites at room temperature.
- When I’m whisking the egg whites, I don’t use the strongest settings on my stand mixer as I find that incorporates air in too quickly and leads to big bubbles forming in your mixture.
- If you find your meringues brown and puff up too much, the oven temperature you’ve set is too high and you should reduce it by another 10 degrees.
- Keep these in an airtight container.
I’m sneaking this “recipe” on the same page as the meringue as a little Easter Egg for those who work their way to the bottom of the page. Serve this dolloped on top of the meringue (smash the top meringue a bit before you do this) and alongside the panna cotta.
110g thickened cream
10g icing sugar
Whip cream and sugar till soft peaks and then add in kinako and whip till thickened.