Four-Way Meringue Clouds
I love the art of planning menus for large parties or even just for dinners with friends. I like the menus to be colorful: purple beets, green beans, red tomatoes, yellow squashes, orange, well, oranges…then I know the menu is varied enough and, as a bonus, has all the vitamins as well. But when it comes to holiday menu planning, especially major ones like the Passover Seder that’s approaching, it gets more complicated. To start with the obvious, it needs to be kosher for Passover. No flour, no bread. For some, no legumes, rice or corn either. Here’s a dessert that can be prepared in advance and will wow your guests without causing you too much extra trouble.
- 8 egg whites from large eggs
- 2½ cups sugar
- Pomegranate-Pistachio Flavor
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
- 1 tablespoon pistachios, finely chopped
- Iraqi Haroset Flavor
- 1½ tablespoon date molasses
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 tablespoons candied walnuts (or roasted walnuts), finely chopped, plus more for decoration
- Orange-Pine Nut Flavor
- 1½ teaspoon orange blossom water (can be found at Middle Eastern grocery stores)
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly roasted, plus more for decoration
- Chocolate-Anise Flavor
- 1½ tablespoon cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground star anise
- 1/8 teaspoon hot chili powder
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, grated
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and whites are hot to the touch (5 to 7 minutes). Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and mix on high speed until stiff with glossy peaks (10 to 12 minutes).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the meringue into four bowls (about 6 ounces of the meringue in each).
- For the pomegranate-pistachio meringue, gently fold in the pomegranate concentrate, leaving stripes of color in the meringue. Using two large spoons transfer large dollops of the meringue onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the pistachio on top.
- For the Iraqi haroset flavor, mix the ingredients in and using two large spoons transfer large dollops of the meringue onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the walnut on top.
- For the orange-pine nut flavor, mix the ingredients in and using two large spoons transfer large dollops of the meringue onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the nuts on top.
- For the chocolate-anise flavor, mix the ingredients in and using two large spoons transfer large dollops of the meringue onto the baking sheet.
- Bake all for 1½ hours until crisp on the outside but still a little chewy inside. You can sacrifice one meringue cloud and break it to check. Cool on a rack and save for up to 1 week in a container at room temperature.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from Haaretz.com.