Gigi’s Meringues Glacées
mother, God rest her soul, was an excellent cook and a marvelous hostess.
She dearly loved to entertain and was always on the lookout for something to
delight her guests. In the late
50s (or was it the early 60s?)
this became her
signature dessert. Her guests considered her nothing short
of a genius based
on her ability to turn out perfect meringues. "Can you believe it," she
me, smiling proudly, "they are so simple!" And in
fact they are simple. But...
There are two essentials: A lot of patience and an excellent mixer. If you are
blessed with a heavy-duty standing mixer (how in the world would I manage
without my KitchenAid?) this will be no problem. (Use the whisk
Perhaps you should
know that I burned up two good hand mixers when I first
recipe! The keys (in addition to the vinegar) are adding the sugar
slowly, following the timing instructions to the letter, and baking at a
very low temperature. Otherwise, your
meringues will be, heaven forbid, grainy.
One more thing: Don't even think
about baking meringues in high humidity.
They will be sticky, and there
won't be a thing you can do about it. Believe me,
this is a real challenge
in South Louisiana!
6 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar (extra-fine is best)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the egg whites in a
large mixing bowl and allow them to stand at
room temperature, covered, at
least 1 hour.
Add the salt to the egg
whites. With electric mixer at high speed, beat the whites until they are
stiff enough to hold a shape. Then, at low speed, add
the sugar 2
tablespoons at a time, beating about 2 minutes after each addi-
tion. Do not
scrape down the sides of the bowl during the beating process
or the meringue
structure will break down.
Preheat the oven to
275 degrees F. Add the vinegar and the vanilla to the meringue and beat at high
speed 10 minutes longer.
(Test the meringue by
rubbing it between you (very clean!)
fingers. It must not feel grainy.) Drop
by heaping spoonfuls, making twelve 3 1/2- to 4-inch mounds,
(or, better yet, parchment-paper-lined) baking sheet. Bake 45
reduce heat to 250 degrees F. and bake 15 minutes longer, or until the meringues
are creamy white and firm to the touch. Remove the meringues to a cooling
rack and allow them to cool completely. Store the
meringues in a tightly
covered container (they keep well).
To serve, break each
meringue apart like a biscuit. Fill with your favorite
ice cream and fresh
fruit in season. Be prepared for raves!
Note: Many recipes call for a
baking temperature of 200 degrees F.
I have presented the above recipe as it
stands, simply because that
is the way Gigi baked her meringues. They always
came out well.
If you opt for the lower temperature, you
will need to bake
meringues from 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
prefer to fill the meringue shells with:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
A few drops of green food coloring, if desired
In the top of a double boiler whisk together the sugar, lime
juice and egg
yolks. Cook over barely simmering water until the mixture is
in the lime zest. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface
a skin from forming and allow to cool completely.
Fold the whipped cream into the lime curd and add a few drops
food coloring if desired. Cover and chill.
When ready to serve, fill the meringue shells and garnish
with fresh fruit
another favorite meringue dessert that will knock their socks off!
Hazelnut and Lemon Meringue
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup finely chopped toasted and
[Almonds work wonderfully
too, if you prefer]
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 1/4 cups well-chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted
hazelnuts [or almonds]
Make the lemon curd: In a saucepan combine the sugar,
lemon juice and zest and cook the mixture over moderately low
stirring with a wooden spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes or until it is
the back of the spoon. Transfer the lemon curd to a
its surface with a buttered round of wax paper, and let it cool
Make the meringue layers: Line 2 buttered 9-inch cake
pans with rounds
of wax [or parchment] paper, butter the paper, and dust the
with flour and sugar. In bowl with electric mixer beat the
egg whites until
they hold soft peaks, beat in the sugar, a little at a time
and beat the mixture until it holds stiff, glossy
peaks. Fold in gently but
thoroughly the hazelnuts, vanilla, and vinegar.
Divide the meringue be-
tween the pans, smoothing it with a rubber spatula,
and bake the layers
in a preheated 300-degree F. oven for 35 to 40 minutes
or until they are
pale beige and crisp. Transfer the meringues to a rack and
let them cool
In a chilled bowl with electric mixer beat the cream until it
just holds stiff peaks. Transfer half the whipped cream to a pastry bag
fitted with a fluted
tip and to the remaining whipped cream fold in 2
tablespoons lemon curd. Transfer one of the meringue layers, smooth side up,
to a cake plate and
spread it with the cream and lemon curd mixture. Arrange
the other mer-
ingue layer smooth side up on the filling, spreading the
it, and pipe the whipped cream decoratively around
Sprinkle the dessert with hazelnuts and chill it for at least 1
hour and up
to 6 hours.
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