The Ottolenghi cookbook has been on my shelf for a year. Apparently, they are known for their huge meringue cookies. A fancy, London restaurant's signature dish is something my 10-year-old could make for 20 cents a piece? Okay, then my signature dish is sliced apples. Shazam!
I looked at the beautiful photos of giant, free-form meringues and wondered who in the world makes meringues the size of a fist? Yesterday, I woke up needing to find out.
Only, I couldn't force myself to make an entire batch of bear paws. Mostly because I am compulsive, but also I wanted to give some pretty ones to neighbors who helped dig out our cars. (If I never see another snow day, it will be too soon.) So, I piped most of them. The blobs and the beauties tasted exactly the same, of course.
This recipe makes a huge batch of meringues. If you don't like your neighbors, make half a recipe. Or move.
Pistachio Rosewater Meringues
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
10 oz. egg whites, from approximately 8 extra-large eggs
pinch of table salt
1 tablespoon rosewater
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped very fine
two baking sheets lined with parchment
In an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on medium high until they are foamy and translucent, about a minute. Throw in a pinch of table salt and the rosewater. Then add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, turning the machine on for a few seconds after each addition. When all the sugar has been added, kick the motor up to high and let it run for about seven minutes. Your whites should be a fluffy, sticky mess.
If you don't care about wowing the neighbors, take two serving spoons and glop the meringue onto baking sheets in rough mounds. If you own a pastry bag and giant star tip, then I'm guessing you already know how those things work. Leave two or three inches between your meringues for air circulation. Sprinkle just a pinch of pistachios on top of each.
Bake for four hours in a 200 degree oven. If you can, turn the oven off and leave them in there for another couple of hours to dry out completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to four days.