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
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.