Brown Sugar Meringues with Sticky Apples and Pears
A cool-weather Eton mess. I love these meringues – I use brown sugar, which is pretty unusual for a meringue, but it really works. Granted they won’t be quite as peaky as the ones made with white sugar, but the trade-off is that you get more good chewiness and a deeper light caramel flavour.
In the summer I serve these with raspberries and some Greek yoghurt sweetened with honey, sometimes with a little basil or mint stirred through. Sometimes I fold a little melted chocolate (50g) or a tablespoon of cocoa through the meringues to make them chocolatey.
4 organic or free-range egg whites 200g soft light brown sugar
3 tablespoons runny honey grated zest of 1 unwaxed lime 250ml Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
FOR THE STICKY APPLES AND PEARS
100g unrefined soft light brown sugar
100ml red wine
3 apples, such as Spartan or Cox’s, peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces
3 William pears, peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick 1 star anise
zest of 1 unwaxed lime, peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler
Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan 130°C/gas 2 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the egg whites into a squeaky clean bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk or in an electric stand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar while mixing on high speed until the mixture is thick and glossy. It’s ready when you can pinch the mixture and not feel any granules of sugar. Fold in 2 tablespoons of the runny honey, leaving some ripples through the mixture.
Spoon into 8 mounds on the baking tray and bake for 11⁄2–2 hours (depending on how chewy you like your meringues – less time means chewier middles). The meringues are ready when they are set and light to pick up. Put to one side to cool.
For the fruit, put the sugar into a pan with the wine and place on a medium heat. Once it’s bubbling, add the fruit, bay leaf, spices and lime zest. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool completely.
Fold the lime zest and remaining honey into the yoghurt. Serve the meringues piled with yoghurt, fruit and the syrup from the fruit.
Image: Brian W Ferry