It’s nearly Easter, which means a long weekend off work, lots of chocolate, hot cross buns, bunny rabbits and Easter chicks. I decided to celebrate Easter by making these meringue nests (the nest is the loose Easter connection) and hosting a little Lindt chocolate giveaway.
I’ve made Italian meringue and Swiss meringue so many times that I find it so simple I don’t even give it a second thought. French meringue however is something that I really struggle with. To make these meringue nests I attempted three batches of French meringue before I got it right.
I’d used all of the eggs I had and nearly all of my positive thinking. So I dashed to the shop around the corner, only to get caught in a freak rain shower on the way back! After drying my hair off with a tea-towel and a watch of this video, I felt ready to try again. If by this point it didn’t work, I had decided to do the mature thing, give up and pick a different recipe.
The problem I seemed to have was that I under whipped the egg whites before adding the sugar. By not whipping to the ‘soft peak’ stage as set out in the video before adding the sugar, I was creating a glossy runny meringue that wouldn’t whip any further. It was impossible to pipe and couldn’t be rescued.
Now that I’ve finally got it right, I need to make French meringue more so that I can get really confident with it. I have a feeling I might have some more failures before I completely master this kind of meringue.
I decided to add a little rose extract to the meringue mixture to give it a subtle floral hint, it made them taste very delicate and they would work really well as bite size meringues.
I served these with a raspberry creme diplomat. This is a mix of raspberry puree spiked with Chambord, mixed with creme patissiere, whipped double cream and some gelatine to help it set. The creme is really easy to make and should really be used within 24 hours.
Once the meringue nests are filled with the creme diplomat they will start to soften and the meringue will break down. So don’t fill these too long before you’re ready to serve them.
I decorated the meringue nests with freeze-dried raspberry powder from Sous Chef and rose petals from Waitrose as I wanted to keep them looking delicate and feminine. They would also be really nice decorated with fresh raspberries, like a sort of Eton Mess.
Here’s the recipe for the Rose & Raspberry Meringue Nests:
- ***Raspberry Puree***
- 150g Frozen Raspberries
- 35g Caster Sugar
- 1.5 Tbsp Chambord
- ***Creme Diplomat***
- 250ml Milk
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 60g Egg Yolk
- 75g Caster Sugar
- 25g Plain Flour
- 2g Leaf Gelatine
- 150ml Double Cream
- ***Meringue Nests***
- 150g Egg Whites (approx 5 eggs)
- 200g Caster Sugar
- 1-2 Drops of Holy Lama Rose Extract
- 100g Icing Sugar Sifted
- ***To decorate***
- Waitrose Rose Petals
- Freeze-dried Powdered Raspberries
- ***Meringue nests***
- Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and draw 6 circles on each sheet of paper that are 7.5cm in diameter.
- Put the egg whites in the bowl of a food mixer and whisk until they begin to foam.
- Add half the caster sugar and whisk to form soft peaks.
- Continue to whisk and add the remaining sugar a little at a time, whisk to form a stiff meringue, then gently stir through the rose extract.
- Fold in the icing sugar and then place the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe nests onto a prepared baking tray, or use a spoon to heap mounds of meringue into the circles and create a dip with the spoon so that they have a nest appearance.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 90C Fan for 2 hours.
- ***Raspberry Puree***
- Put the raspberries and caster sugar in a saucepan and heat until the raspberries break down. Strain the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds and keep the puree, then add the chambord and stir it into the puree.
- ***Creme Diplomat***
- Place the gelatine in a bowl of cold water and leave to soak.
- Bring the milk, vanilla pod and seeds or extract to a boil in a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Remove from the heat and let infuse for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile combine the sugar and flour in a medium bowl. Add the egg yolks.
- Whisk just until the sugar is combined, do not let it get too pale.
- Whisk a third of the milk into the egg mixture to loosen it.
- Whisk in the remaining milk and return the mixture to the saucepan, straining it through a fine sieve and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly.
- As soon as the pastry cream begins to thicken, remove it from the heat and stir until thickened. squeeze the water out of the gelatine and stir it into the creme patissiere until dissolved, then stir in the raspberry puree until thoroughly mixed.
- Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and cover with a layer of clingfilm, pressing it down so it touches the surface of the cream. This will stop a skin forming. Allow to chill completely.
- Whip the double cream until it is semi-whipped and then fold it into the creme patissiere, place the cream in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
- When the meringues are cooked, allow them to cool and then pipe or spoon the creme into the meringue nests. Decorate with rose petals and dust freeze-dried raspberry powder over the meringues.
- Once you've filled the meringues they need to be eaten immediately, as the meringue will begin to dissolve. Alternatively store the nests in an airtight container so you can fill them at a later date.
To celebrate Easter I have a giveaway of some delicious Lindt chocolate, the giveaway includes the following prizes worth over £35.00:
- Lindor Strawberries & Cream Truffles (200g)
- Lindt Excellence 70% Dark Shell Egg (220g)
- Lindt Taste of Spring Flame Easter Egg (57g)
- Lindt Taste of Spring Praline Box (120g)
- Lindt Gold Bunny, White, Dark, Hazelnut and Milk (100g each)
You can enter using the various ways below, this is a UK only competition and Good Luck!
Do you have anything planned for the Easter weekend? Or are you just going to eat your bodyweight in Chocolate?
Thanks for reading.