Rosewater and Dark Chocolate Meringues

  • Merenga d'aigua de rosa i xocolata negra
  • 22/03/2017

Spring is here! And I say this with true happiness swelling in my heart. Although it’s a little bit overcast today, it’s still blue behind the frothy white cloud cover, and there’s a sunshiny hue to everything. I suggested bringing the laundry in because I thought it might rain, and was reminded not to assume the best from April’s fickle weather, so it continues to flap lazily in the slow waft of Mediterranean wind coming off the sea.

I’ve recently become dessert-obsessed (again), and in these last few weeks of winter, I’ve felt a bit like a mad scientist trapped in a dark laboratory (read: gloomy kitchen), whipping up all manner of sugar-laced delights. Some have turned out incredible (see recipe below), and others not so well (like a recent experiment with syrup soaked ginger cake that I can’t give away)….

I must have felt a lightness in my step with this new weather because I wanted nothing more than to master the meringue, although I’m not sure why, because I’ve never wanted to eat them aside from the requisite crumbles around my Michelin-starred 12th course. So I dressed them up in dainty swirls of dark chocolate and a few droplets of rose water and sent them off to be devoured at a wine tasting I threw for friends recently.

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I wasn’t expecting them to be so successful given my heavy hand with floral waters, but they were gone in an instant. It probably helped that I paired them with a beautiful dessert wine from Alta Alella, a vineyard just north of the city that I’m writing about for the Avina Wine Tools blog. Their Dolç Mataró (dolç for sweet, Mataró for the grape) has made its own noise on the Michelin circuit, and it’s easy to see in a sip why it’s won both hearts and awards.

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In any case, if you have a dusty KitchenAid floundering on your kitchen counter, here’s the perfect excuse to give it some exercise. I bought mine for bread and pasta making, but I never bought the pasta attachment and after one bread fail, it was quickly becoming an inconvenient dinosaur. I’ve since rescued it from its certain fate with a series of desserts that require perfectly whipped egg whites. (Turns out you can make a lot of things other than meringues with meringue.)

In any case, you needed this recipe for Valentine’s day, but save it instead for Sant Jordi, the best celebration of love and libros in the world. {April 23rd: save the date.}

 

 

 

 

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Rosewater and Dark Chocolate Meringues

Makea 10-12

For the meringues

4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon rosewater
⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

For the swirl

4 tabs 70% dark chocolate
Maldon (flaky) sea salt

Pre-heat your oven to 275°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until small bubbles start to form. Then increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually incorporate the sugar, adding about 2 tablespoons at a time. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat on high for about 5 minutes. The meringue should be stiff, glossy and able to hold it’s shape on a spoon or whisk, even when turned upside down. Scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute more.

Scoop the meringue out in rounded spoonfuls onto your prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1-2 inches between each mound. Do not flatten them or worry about their shape at this time.

Make sure your melted chocolate and salted caramel sauce is smooth and liquid, but not hot. Place a small amount of each–I found a dollop somewhere between the size of a pea and an almond worked the best–on top of each meringue. Then use a toothpick to swirl the toppings into the meringue, shaping the meringue as you do this. Don’t flatten the meringues out too much, as they will spread some during baking. I found it easiest work with a single row of meringues at a time (adding the toppings and swirling them), before moving on to the next row. As your toothpick gets sticky, toss it out and replace it with a fresh one. Sprinkle the tops of the meringues with a pinch of sea salt.

Transfer the swirled meringues to your pre-heated oven and reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for about 40 minutes. The outsides should be dry to the touch. Remove the meringues from the oven and allow them to cool completely on their baking sheets. Then gently peel them away from the parchment paper.

The meringues can be served on the day they are made or stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. They will loose some of their crispness over time, but they will still be delicious!

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