Okay so I’ve done some research and some highly covert experiments and have found an Ottolenghi recipe which delivers the goods. As suspected, my newly acquired electric beater makes life infinitely easier. It’s essential for this recipe because you whisk the egg mix until it is very thick. So thick in fact that aforementioned beater got pushed to the brink of explosion (use a freestanding electric mixer, if you have one). Ten minutes on high speed in an increasingly-quick-sand-like substance and the motor was giving off unpleasant plastic smells. Still…it got there! No harm done…and 12 beautiful pistachio-dusted meringues to show for its efforts.
300g caster sugar
150g free-range egg whites
1 tsp rosewater
30g pistachio nuts
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper and spread the sugar evenly over. Place tray in oven for around 8 minutes or until sugar is hot…you’ll see the edges of the sugar begin to liquify.
While the sugar is in the oven, place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. When the sugar is almost ready, begin whisking on high speed until the whites just begin to froth up…around a minute.
Remove sugar from oven and make a tube out of the baking paper by holding the two long sides together. Carefully and slowly pour the sugar into the whisking whites. Add the rosewater once all the sugar has been incorporated and continue whisking on high speed for about 10 minutes. The mixture will become very thick, hold its shape, and turn bewitchingly silky and glossy.
Turn oven down to 110°C and line two trays with baking paper. Use two spoons to shape the meringues – one to scoop the mixture from the bowl, the other to push it off onto the tray. You can make these as large or as small as you like. I think a generously heaped tablespoon is about right…but each to their own…just make sure you space them well apart on the tray as they will nearly double in size.
Sprinkle meringues generously with the chopped pistachios, place in the preheated oven and leave to bake for about 2 hours. Gentle prodding will tell you they are ready…they should be firm on the outside whilst still a little soft in the centre.
Remove from oven and leave to cool. Meringues keep well for a quite a few days in an airtight container.
1. The finer chopped the pistachios the better…you want a dusting effect, with a few slightly chunky bits for texture. 2. Rotate and swap each tray half way through baking time to ensure even cooking. 3. Rosewater can be substituted for 1 tsp orange blossom water or ½ tsp vanilla extract.