Australia Day is next week but as early as two weeks ago, I was sorting out recipes in my head already thinking of what to cook or bake to celebrate the event. Of course, lamingtons came to mind, as well as meat pies and the very versatile pavlovas. As most of you know, pavlova is a favourite dessert in my family. So simple to make with very pretty result once you have adorned it with your favourite toppings of cream and fruit or chocolate. To think that five years ago, I could not even make a simple meringue. I remember my son teasing me, ” Mama, for someone who bakes complicated desserts, you cannot make a simple meringue.” That was a real challenge for me. Three times I have failed. My son and I would look at the baked meringues, which were very far from what you will call meringues and each time, we’d look at each other, laughed and then tossed the meringues in the bin. For many months after those failed attempts, I did not try making them and was about to give up on meringues until a friend of mine from America shared her meringue recipe with me. Not so much different from the ones I have used but for some reason, her recipe worked. That was the start of my love affair with meringue, much to the delight of my meringue/pavlova-fanatic son. Now I can do wonders with egg whites and sugar!
I have many recipes of meringues and pavlovas of all sort – traditional, rolled, layers and slices. A bit too many for my excitement. Last week, my son was baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies ( yes, he bakes as well!) and he used golden caster sugar. I have not heard of golden caster sugar before so I turned to Google (as you do these days) to check the product. Apparently, it is fairly unique to the UK. Made from unrefined sugar cane or beets, it is popular for its pale brown colour and its slightly buttery flavour. Good thing it is now available in Australia. Suddenly, I had this idea of using a mixture of the golden caster sugar and brown sugar to make caramel-flavoured meringues. I wanted to make the flavours as simple as possible so I decided to just top them with whipped cream, fresh blueberries and my home made blueberry sauce. I normally use white sugar to make the sauce but this time used the golden caster sugar. Drizzle this on top of the meringue and your taste buds will thank you for it! Chewy caramel meringue with whipped cream, fresh blueberries and that very nice blueberry sauce. Delectable dessert indeed!
For the meringue
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup golden caster sugar
- 1/4 cup dark Muscovado sugar
- 300ml thickened cream, whipped
- 1 punnet fresh blueberries
- fresh mint sprigs, to garnish
For the blueberry sauce
- 2 punnets of blueberries
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1 cup golden caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon corn starch (optional)
- Preheat oven to 120C degrees. Draw 4 x 10cm discs on baking paper. Turn over baking paper and use to line a baking tray.
- In a clean and dry medium bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric beaters until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add combined sugar, a tablespoon at a time to the egg whites. Beat well after each addition.
- Continue whisking until sugar dissolves.
- Spoon mixture equally onto the discs. Use a flat knife or spatula to spread to the edges.
- Bake for 1 and 1/2 hours or until meringues are dry to touch. Now, as I always say, oven temperatures vary so check your meringue after an hour.
- Turn oven off. Leave meringues in the oven to cool, with the door ajar.
- Make blueberry sauce while meringues are cooling. Mash berries with a tablespoon of water over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Mash until you get a sauce consistency. Remove from heat.
- In another small saucepan, bring to boil remaining water and sugar. Continue boiling, without stirring but swirling the pan until sugar dissolves.
- Reduce heat to simmer. Add blueberry mash and lemon juice. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. This is optional but you can adjust consistency by adding cornstarch.
- Let it cool.
- To assemble dessert, place individual meringue onto a serving plate. Top with whipped cream and fresh blueberries.
- Drizzle with blueberry sauce. Garnish with mint sprigs.