This dessert is for meringue lovers only. I say this right at the beginning in order to save up time to all of you who simple don't like sound and taste of a meringue in their mouth. Also, it seems to me that this sweet is most often served among those either gluten sensitive or intolerant. So all of you gluten sensitive tuck in and enjoy!
Meringues can come in many shapes and sizes and are usually served with fresh berries and whipped cream. Whatever the form, the final result should be crisp on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. I was just a little girl when I saw meringue/pavlova (which is a type of meringue) for the first time and it was in a picture book under the section Australia. I so loved its appearance, a pile of fresh and mashed strawberries floating on a big white cloud. We had this cookbook which we used as a picture book in our house and almost never cooked from it.
As mentioned already berries are great to be served on top of meringues, especially wild berries as they perfectly cut off the sweetness of the meringue, but some of us (me included) like citrus curd as well.
Meringue in a form of a cupcake individually served on a plate is extravaganza in everyday life, at least this is how I feel about it. Even if not perfectly shaped, slightly deconstructed, these gigantic bites filled with curd and cream and iced with sugar are necessity.
Meringue Cupcakes with Orange Curd
for the meringue:
6 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
sliced almonds, approximately teaspoon for each cupcake
_Preheat oven to 105 degrees Celsius. Line every other cup of two nonstick 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners, and set aside. Combine the egg whites, salt, vinegar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until frothy. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating a full 2 minutes after each addition, making sure the sugar has completely dissolved. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down sides of bowl after each addition of sugar so that undissolved sugar does not build up. Egg whites should form glossy firm peaks.
_Using a rubber spatula, spoon meringue equally into 12 paper cups so meringue is about 5 cm above rims. Clean up edges so no meringue is touching muffin tins. Do not smooth meringue or worry about peaks and odd shapes. Scatter sliced almonds on top of each cupcake (a teaspoon on each). Place in the oven, and bake until very light brown and completely dry on the outside but still soft in the middle, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, remove cupcakes from tins, and peel off cupcake liners. Let cool.
_Using a serrated knife, gently slice tops off cupcakes; do not worry if they crack. Spoon whipped cream (whipped to soft peaks) into the center of each cupcake, and cover with orange curd. Cover with top of cupcake. Dust with icing sugar.
Recipe for orange curd find here: http://mykitchenkiosk.blogspot.com/2015/01/little-jar-of-sunshine.html
Recipe for meringue adopted from Martha Stewart.