Miniature Meringues with Wild Blackberry Cream
ingredients for the meringues
4 large egg whites
125g caster sugar
125g icing (confectioner's) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
ingredients for the blackberry cream
2 large handfuls of fresh blackberries. If using from frozen, defrost first
250ml / 1 cup double (heavy) cream
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1) Pre-heat your oven to 100C / Gas Mark 1/2 / 230F, and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl (preferably stainless steel), or the bowl of a freestanding mixer, whisk the egg whites until they resemble fluffy clouds, and stand up in stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted.
2) Beat in the vanilla extract if using. You could alternatively add a vanilla pod if you are feeling fancy, and would like gently speckled meringues.
3) Gradually add the caster sugar to the egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time. It is important to add the sugar gradually to ensure the sugar crystals disperse evenly and have time to be incorporated. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and glossy.
4) Sieve in the icing sugar and gently fold in with a metal spoon or a spatula until it is fully incorporated.
5) At this stage it's up to you to choose how you present your meringues. You could either make a giant one to create the base of a pavlova, spoon dessertspoon-fuls of meringue onto parchment for individual meringue nests, or pipe the meringue using a star or round tipped nozzle to create miniature meringues, which is what I opted for.
6) Bake the meringues for 1.5 hours until the meringues are a pale coffee colour, and have crisped up on their bases. Turn the oven off, and leave the meringues in the oven to continue gently cooking while they cool.
To make the blackberry cream:
1) Blitz the blackberries in a food processor until smooth.
2) Whip the cream until thickened, being careful not to over whip.
3) Fold the blitzed blackberries into the cream, along with the lemon zest, and enjoy watching the cream transform into a beautiful shade of purple!
4) Spoon or pipe the blackberry cream onto a meringue, and sandwich together with another. Alternatively, let your friends enjoy scooping out the cream and loading up their meringues themselves with as much or as little purple creamy goodness as they like!