24 November 2008

Walnut-Clementine Meringues

En français ici.
Ok, I'm one day late for Sunday baking, but this weekend I had the good fortune to visit the beautiful town of Arras in the north of France where (stereo)typically the people are friendly and the weather is dismal. Although we've been trying to drag it out with all these gorgeous autumn photos and recipes circulating in the blogosphere, after this weekend, I think I can safely say "winter is here"! Time to start thinking about Christmas then, right? What? It's not even Thanksgiving yet? Ok, but almost and I'll get to that next week, don't worry.

This is the view at the Arras train station when I left. The train came on time (miraculously, despite a 2-day strike and the snow) but the high-speed train was not so high speed on icy rails! Understandably with this kind of weather, one has to find ways to stay warm. Let me recommend tasting local beers as a good way to do that:

What does all this have to do with today's recipe? Well as you might have figured out if you've been following closely, after the Pots de Crème à l'Orange last week, I had 6 egg whites just sitting around waiting to be turned into something festive and yummy to bring along on my adventure to thank my host. Did somebody say meringues? These seasonal meringues are as pretty as they are delicious. They look impressive and they're not all that hard to make even if they cook for a while.

3 egg whites
a heaping 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup superfine sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar, which I didn't, put 3/4 cup regular sugar in your mixer or food processor for about 30 seconds)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp clementine zest
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

egg whites with sugar and stiff peaks

Bring the egg whites to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200F/105C. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks when you lift up the beater. (Technically you can make these without an electric beater, I've done it with a fork, but my arm is not willing to relive the experience!)

Add the sugar little by little while beating and beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks and feel smooth between your fingers (not too gritty).

Spoon the egg whites onto a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil. Sprinkle the clementine zest and walnuts on top and put in the oven, on a rack in the center. Cook 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours at 200F/105C. Then turn off the oven, stick a wooden spoon in to prop open the door slightly and let cool 4-6 hours or overnight. The less time you leave them to dry out, the more chewy the center will be, the more time you leave them, the more light and airy they'll be all the way through. It depends how you like them.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Such pretty and delicious sounding/looking meringues! Nice snow pictures!



Psychgrad said...

I'd like to try making meringues one of these days. They seem pretty manageable.

Arras is pretty well known among Canadians for its proximity to Vimy Ridge. R went through there this past summer. In the latter half of this post, I've posted some pictures. Actually, I my friends were cycling through France for their honeymoon this past summer. On their way out of Arras, toward Vimy Ridge, my friend wiped out going 50 kms/hr. She was quite banged up. But, thankfully, the people in the area were very nice and helped with calling an ambulance and storing their bike equipment.

Cicero Sings said...

Looks like a very good way to use up egg whites if you ask me. I love orange flavoured things as well as lemon!

I'm still waiting to hear how your Mither did on her bike ride ... or did I miss it?

We love tasting local beers ... every time we come across a microbrewery we try to check them out. Microbrewery beer is about the only beer we drink ... we aren't into the big name, mass produced beers.

Cicero Sings said...

P.S. No snow here yet.

Ivy said...

I love making meringues and they are lovely as a base for many desserts. They do look lovely. There's an Award for you on my blog.

Alex Rushmer said...

The meringues look great. Do we need to pack some warm clothes for our trip?

Sam said...

I make meringues with spare egg whites too but never as nice as these, they look perfect.

Anonymous said...

You went to les 3 Brasseurs, too! Cool! And I can't believe you've made meringues with a fork - that's hardcore! :)

Hopie said...

Rosa - Thank you :-)

Psychgrad - You should definitely give meringues a try. Sometimes you have to experiment a bit to get the right temperature and time in the oven depending on your oven, but otherwise they're not too difficult. My friend wanted to take me to Vimy Ridge to see the memorial but the weather (as you can see) did not permit, or at least made us want to stay curled up inside by the fire. The people there are very friendly!

Cicero - I agree about local beers. I'm not a big beer drinker otherwise. I'm waiting for my mom to send me some pictures and I'll do a little update post on her ride, don't worry!

Ivy - Thank you! I'm on my way over :-)

Alex - Yes, warm clothes would be a good idea. You must be getting excited about your trip!

Camille - Ah, when you fall in love you do crazy things. That's my only excuse ;-) Mmmm, les 3 brasseurs!

RecipeGirl said...

These look so beautiful. I've not yet attempted meringues but they look intriguing to make!

Kathy said...

very pretty - you just gave me a great idea for the mini lemon pies I'm making next week. Thanks so much!

EAT! said...

I love meringues. With the boxes of clementines in my kitchen, this will be a good recipe to try.

Love the snowy pictures!!

Hopie said...

RecipeGirl - You should definitely give them a try!

Kathy - My pleasure. Mini lemon pies sound delicious!

EAT - Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy. Glad you liked the snow pictures :-)