Recipe: Meringues Chantilly (Meringue Pastries with Chantilly Cream)
Techniques: French Meringue, Chantilly Cream
This was such a pleasant recipe to make, despite all the whisking! My left-arm is still tired now.
I never realised there were so many types of meringue. The French, Swiss and Italians all have their own way of making this delicious fat-free foodstuff, which dates back to the late 1600s.
Whilst googling how to store the meringues, I discovered a new word, ‘hygroscopic’. Meringues, it would seem are hygroscopic. Which means they attract any moisture lurking in the atmosphere. So, when cooked you need to store them in an air-tight container out of the fridge and away from direct sunlight.
If you’re adding cream like I did, you’ll need to eat the meringues within 24 hours as they become soggy and a little unpleasant.
As the finished meringues need to be very dry, Felder uses the French meringue method. This is the classic mix of whisking egg whites with sugar and eventually icing sugar, until firm peaks are formed.
The pictures in ‘the book’ showed everything being whisked by hand. So, to be as true to the recipe as possible, I did the same. It took a while, but it was worth it. Although next time, I might be tempted to use my electric hand whisk.
The meringues were then piped onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper (I learnt my lesson from ‘choux-gate’, thanks for the tips everyone) and dusted with icing sugar.
These little morsels have a very long cooking time, 2 hours 10 minutes in total at 90˚C. This has earned them the name ‘forgotten cookies’, because they can be left in the oven for such a long time.
The meringues are meant to be colourless, without any signs of cooking and they should be completely crisp and dry.
At this stage, I left the meringues in an air-tight container and made the Chantilly cream the following day.
The origins of Chantilly cream are somewhat unclear. It is thought to have come from either the Chateau of Chantilly, or the small houses built in the grounds of the Chateau. Whichever is true, whenever I see the name Chantilly cream, I can’t help singing ‘Chantilly Lace’ by The Big Bopper!
The cream was very easy to make. It’s whipped cream, sugar, vanilla extract and kirsch. I didn’t have any kirsch and I wasn’t going to buy a whole bottle when the recipe only called for a teaspoon of the stuff. So I used another type of brandy.
I then got some much needed piping practice. I had to sandwich two meringues together with the cream and then pipe a decoration on top.
These tasted pretty good and went down well with my taste testers.
Next week an intermediate recipe, Crème de Cheesecake.
Thanks for reading.