Typically, I don’t like sugary desserts, always preferring something chocolate or fruit based. I’ve succumbed to the exotic seduction of these pistachio cardamon meringues. While the cloud-like confections are usually paired with fruit, the combination of nuts and spices is an ethnic twist that takes these sweet treats to a whole new level.
This recipe is adapted from the fabulous Ottolenghi’s self named cookbook. As you will discover if you follow the blog, I am obsessed with Middle Eastern food and flavors. Ottolenghi and his three cookbooks were my first portals into this world of exotic cuisine and I will forevermore be a religious follower of his career and devoted recipe tester.
This meringue are delicate sweets that seem appropriate for a Valentine’s Day tea party with your girlfriends. So, I invited two of my close friends over to enjoy the them with a large pot of creamy oolong tea and cucumber sandwiches. It was a misty grey day, Agnes Obel was lilting softly from the speakers and after a long time apart, it was wonderful to sit and gab with my girl friends.
That said, I also brought a bag of the meringues over to one of my boy friend’s homes the other day and they loved them. It was pretty hilarious to sit back and watch them play an NFL video game will munching carefully on the fragile treats.
- 2½ cups superfine sugar (sometimes called berry sugar)
- 10½ ounces egg whites (approx. 10 medium eggs)
- a scant ⅔ cups dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamon
- ½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- ½ dark chocolate, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
- Over a large saucepan of simmering water, dissolve the egg whites and both sugars in a heatproof bowl. Allow the mixture to heat for ten minutes, stirring only once or twice to incorporate.
- Pour the egg white sugar combination into a stand mixture and whisk on a high speed for 8-10 minutes until the mixture has cooled considerably. At this point, it should form shiny, smooth peaks.
- Add the spices and vanilla, folding in gently with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using two large spoons, one to scoop the meringue mixture and the other to slot it off the spoon onto the tray, shape the sugar into small fist sized clouds with a single peak. Alternating trays, sprinkle either the pistachios or chopped chocolate over the meringues.
- Bake the meringues for 2 to 2½ hours depending on the heat and size of your oven. If you are concerned, break one meringue in half after the 2 hour mark to see if it is cooked to your liking. Let the meringues cool for an additional half an hour and store them in a cool, dry place for up to a week until they become stale.