In Our Kitchen: Recipe for Rosewater Meringue With Blackberries and Cream
ILEANA MORALES VALENTINE | Special to the Times
Rosewater Meringue With Blackberries and Cream makes for a mouthwatering dessert.
If you're in the market for a showstopping dessert this summer, this Rosewater Meringue With Blackberries and Cream is for you. The meringues are gorgeous and not especially difficult to prepare. Streaked with the brilliant syrup of juicy berries, meringues are also an excellent vehicle for showing off any fresh berries you can find — blackberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Part of the fun of making this rosewater meringue is watching a few simple ingredients transform into something else entirely. Egg whites are whipped into a frothy frenzy. Then comes an avalanche of warm sugar. Beaten together, the whole thing thickens until it achieves a glossy, sticky texture akin to marshmallow fluff. It's kitchen magic.
Take this fluff and form clouds on a baking sheet or two. It makes about three big clouds, each one big enough to share. (When I made it, one turned out slightly shaped like a heart.) Feel free to make several small meringues instead, up to about eight, and with as much space between them as you'd allow for cookies to spread out.
After a low and slow bake, the meringue mixture is once again transformed. That smooth layer crisps into a pearlescent, ivory shell. And then, yes, go ahead and crack the top of the meringue with a spoon. Inside, the meringue reveals a fudge-like texture. Whipped cream is spooned generously over the crackled top, then berry sauce is drizzled on top. The result is stunning, and a perfect end to any upcoming summer dinner parties.
Ileana Morales Valentine lives in St. Petersburg with her husband. For more of their kitchen stories, visit her blog, ALittleSaffron.com. Say hello at [email protected]
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With Blackberries and Cream
Superfine sugar is used here because it dissolves more quickly. If you can't find it, you can make your own by pulsing granulated sugar in a food processor. The original recipe calls for black currants but I used readily available blackberries instead. Any tart berry would work, and raspberries would be especially pretty.
For the meringues:
1 ½ cups superfine or caster sugar
5 egg whites
A few drops of rosewater
For the blackberry sauce:
10 ounces blackberries, plus some for garnish if desired
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup heavy cream
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the meringue, scatter the sugar over a baking sheet and place in the oven until it is warm, 6 to 10 minutes. Check on it about halfway, stirring and making sure the edges aren't starting to caramelize. Remove from oven.
Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment until firm and fluffy, then fold in the warm sugar and rosewater. Keep beating mixture for about 5 minutes. The meringue will transform from a frothy mixture into a shiny and thick consistency. Taste and add a few more drops of rosewater if the flavor is too faint.
Use a rubber spatula to form several mounds of the mixture, about 4 inches wide, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave some room, a couple of inches or so, between them for the meringues to puff up and spread out. (You can go bigger or smaller. Just keep in mind they will take more or less time to cook.) Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 250 degrees. Bake for about an hour or until the meringues are crisp on top and achieve a pale honey color. Turn down the heat if the meringues are browning too quickly. Let cool.
Meanwhile, place the blackberries in a small pot with sugar and water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat when some of the berries start to release their juices, forming a deep purple syrup. It won't take long. Let cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, gradually increasing the speed from low to medium, until it just forms soft peaks.
Press the back of a spoon into the center of each meringue to crack the top. Spoon the whipped cream into the center. Top with blackberry syrup. Serve immediately. Garnish with more blackberries if desired.
Serves 6 to 8.
Source: Recipe adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater