RASPBERRY AND MERINGUE DESSERT

Raspberry and meringue dessert - a taste of things to come,,

This is quite a luscious pudding..creamy, fruity and some crumbly sweet meringue pieces. I have used my own meringues which are SO much better than bought (why are they so much sweeter than homemade ones when meringues are nearly 100% sugar anyway?)  but if you are pushed you could use bought ones. I used frozen raspberries but later in the season you could use fresh ones and if you have home grown ones this would be heaven in a glass. Other soft fruits would work too, strawberries, blackcurrants or redcurrants. Take care with the currants they need more sugar to sweeten them

SUMMERY RASPBERRY AND MERINGUE DESSERT

If you want to have a go at making meringues this is a good way to try-as the meringues are crushed up to make the pudding it doesn’t matter if they are not quite as you wanted them.  Until you get the knack of making them they can often end up collapsing so they don’t hold a shape (not enough whisking) or can crack and ‘weep’ sugar as you are baking them (sugar has been added too quickly), so have a go with these and don’t worry how they turn out. You need to make the meringues in advance of assembling the dessert.

BASIC MERINGUES

2 large egg whites

1 pinch salt

1 fat pinch of cream of tartar

125g caster sugar*

 

1.  Line a couple of baking trays with a silicone based baking paper-the high sugar content means that they stick very easily.

2.  Put the egg whites in a large, clean, grease free mixing bowl and whisk, with an electric mixer until they are frothy. Add the salt and the cream of tartar and continue whisking until they are really stiff.

3.  Add the sugar 1 tbsp. at a time and whisk between each tbsp.-this will take some time and as you must make sure that you have beaten the mixture enough before you add the next tbsp. of sugar. It should be thick and glossy and so stiff that you could cut it easily with a knife.

4.  If you were making ‘proper’ meringues you would put the mixture in a large piping bag fitted with a 1 cm star nozzle and either pipe little meringues or baskets…but for this recipe you don’t need to do this just put tablespoon sized dollops of the mixture onto the baking trays.

5.  Bake in a very low oven 110C, Gas ¼ for a minimum of 2 hours-until they are completely dry-they should sound hollow when you tap the base. Many recipes say to turn the oven off after an hour and then leave overnight but I don’t think that this is necessary. If they are very dry then the meringues will keep for a long time in an airtight tin.

 

*instead of the caster sugar I used Demerara sugar which give the meringues a caramel flavour-you need to whiz the sugar in an electric coffee grinder (or similar) to reduce it to the consistency of caster sugar.

 

Serves 4

300g crème fraich-I used the ½ fat version*

A little milk

300g frozen raspberries (or use fresh rasps late in the season)

A little icing sugar

¾ handfuls crushed meringues-leave some larger and smaller pieces

 

1.  Put the crème fraich in a bowl and mix in a little milk to make it less stiff-do it gently or the mixture will get even stiffer.

2.  Defrost the raspberries-take out a few for decoration. Divide in two-put half in a bowl and lightly crush with a fork and sweeten with a little icing sugar. Put the rest in a blender and whiz until you have a smooth puree and sweeten with a little icing sugar to taste-don’t make either  too sweet because of the meringues but a little sweetness does bring out the flavour of the fruit.

3.  Put the meringues in a large bowl, add the crème fraiche and gently fold in the prepared raspberries. After that add most of the pureed raspberries and swirl together to get a marbled effect. Divide between 4 glasses and then top each with some of the remaining puree. Serve straight away.

 

For some reason crème fraiche comes in millilitres and half fat crème fraiche in grams! – they are roughly the same.

 

 

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