Muscovado Meringue is sweet with notes of honey and caramel. A crisp shell yields to a soft gooey centre. Served alongside whipped cream and cherries & pears poached in red wine, it makes a spectacular feast of a dessert.
I think of meringue as a quietly confident classic dessert. It can be haphazardly presented or piped and preened into a work of edible art. But one thing is for sure; the taste of homemade meringue is an absolute treat.
Call me lazy, but I usually prefer a homely, laid back approach when making meringue. I’ll put the leg work into making the perfect blend, but I rarely pipe the meringue, unless I really am after a pristine finish to my dessert.
You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m not insisting you pipe neat nests for these Muscovado Meringues, which, by the way, come served with Red Wine Poached Cherries and Pears. Forget fancy swirls or perfectly formed cases. A splurge of cream and a helping of ruby red fruit and sauce are the only accessories this sweet, gooey Muscovado Meringue requires.
Ignoring my inherent idleness, let’s talk more about the Muscovado Meringue. First up, as it is based on French meringue, it is one of the easiest of all meringues to make. It’s as simple as whisking egg whites and adding the sugar gradually.
I’ve switched out some of the white sugar in favour of light Muscovado sugar. The Muscovado makes the meringue less intensely sweet and lends a hint of honeyed caramel to the overall flavour. Oh sweet gooey joy. These meringues are crisp and crunchy on the outside yet soft and pillowy inside. Almost like marshmallow. Just how I like them.
I’ve also sprinkled in a few chopped hazelnuts to add a little extra interest to the flavour and texture of the meringues. But if nuts are not your bag, leaving them out won’t harm the recipe.
Once made, Muscovado Meringue can be paired with a vast number of fruity toppings and served with either whipped cream or ice cream. If you are after a speedy pudding, I can particularly recommend you try them with strawberries and vanilla ice cream. However, if you have a little extra time to prepare a treat, then serve them with Red Wine Poached Cherries and Pears with a helping of whipped cream.
Flavoured with crystallised ginger, vanilla and orange zest this is a fruity topping to savour. The colour is bold and alluring and it’s without a doubt a smart option to serve for a special occasion. And the best news is that you can make everything in advance, ready to assemble last minute – the meringue, the fruit and the sauce. Bonus.
If you want to find out more about meringues hop over to my post featuring White Chocolate Peppermint Meringue Sandwiches. Not only will you pick up a little meringue-based knowledge but you’ll also get another fantastic recipe. And… surprise! You’ll discover I’m not always such a sloth in the meringue kitchen – these adorable little delicacies are deftly piped.
- 2 Egg whites (large, free range)
- 50 g (1/4 cup) Light muscovado sugar
- 65g (1/3 cup) Caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp Cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Cornflour (cornstarch)
- 50g (1/3 cup) Blanched hazelnuts - roughly chopped
- 150g (2/3 cup) g Fresh cherries (or frozen if out of season)
- 2 Large pears
- 200ml (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) Fruity red wine
- 6 tbsp Caster sugar
- 10g (4 x 1cm cubes) Crystalised ginger
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla bean paste
- 1 Strip orange peel (2cm wide x 4cm long)
- 300ml (1 1/4 cup) Whipped or double (heavy) cream
- Preheat oven to 140C/ 275F/ GM1 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment
- Weight the sugars into one bowl and stir to combine
- Put the egg whites into a medium sized bowl and begin to whisk, using electric beaters, until just stiff
- Add the sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, whisking continuously, until all of the sugar has been added. This process will take around 5 minutes, but the meringue will be a much better texture than if you add it all in one go
- Add the vinegar and cornflour and whisk for a further minute until fully incorporated
- Finally, using a large metal spoon fold in the chopped hazelnuts
- Spoon 6 heaps of meringue onto the baking sheet, leaving 5cm between each one. Gently press the back of a dessert spoon into the middle of each meringue, to make a slight indentation (or pipe neat nests if you feel like being fancy)
- Put into the oven, turn the heat down to 120C/250F/ GM 1/2 and let cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 100C/ 210F/ GM 1/4 and cook for a further 30 minutes
- Try to lift a meringue off the baking parchment - it should easily come away. If so, remove the meringues from the oven and let cool completely. If not, allow to cook for 5-10 more minutes and test again
- Store in an airtight container until ready to use
- Pit the cherries and cut in half
- Put the sugar, wine, vanilla and orange zest into a medium saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar
- Meanwhile, peel and quarter the pears. Remove the core and slice on the diagonal into strips (5mm wide)
- Carefully add to the pan
- Chop the ginger finely and toss into the pan
- Turn the heat up to medium and let cook (without boiling) for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the cherries and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the pears are tender
- Put a sieve over a bowl and pour the fruit and liquid through the sieve. Remove the orange zest then let everything drain for 10 minutes
- Put the fruit into a bowl, let cool and cover until required (refrigerate (for up to 3 days) if not to be eaten that day)
- Return the poaching liquid to the pan and heat to a rapid boil. Allow the liquid to reduce to half of it's volume - it will thicken slightly as it does so and the syrup will coat the back of a spoon when ready
- DO NOT pour the red wine syrup back over the fruit at this stage - keep them separate until ready to serve since the liquid inherent in the fruit will thin the syrup if left to stand
- Instead, pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool (again, refrigerate if not to be consumed that day)
- Allow the fruit and syrup to come back to room temperature if they have been stored in the fridge
- Whip the cream and divide between the meringues, placing a dollop into the centre of each
- Take 1/3 of the syrup and mix it into the fruit then divide the fruit between each meringue, placing it neatly on top of the cream
- Pour the remaining syrup over the fruit and serve immediately