May 18, 2008

pistachio meringues with blackberry and elderflower granita

Meringue is one of those things that I find very therapeutic to make, the added bonus being it's always so wonderful to eat too. In the Winter it's comforting with a heavy unctuous chocolate or toffee topping, and in the Summer (well, the sun has been out for a couple of days, so we could be forgiven for thinking that it must be nearly Summer!) what better way to finish off a meal than with a sweet, crisp meringue, dotted with nubs of bright green pistachios, and then piled high with floppy clouds of double cream, and topped off with a tart and refreshing granita?

Firstly, start by making the meringue the day before.

75g shelled pistachio nuts
4 egg whites
200g golden caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and heat the oven to 120C / Gas 1. Tip the pistachios into a shallow baking tin and toast in the oven for 7-10 minutes. Blitz in a food processor or chop roughly and then set aside.
In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoon at a time until it's all been incorporated and the mixture is no longer gritty. Quickly whisk in the corflour and vinegar, which you have mixed together into a paste, and then lightly fold in about three quarters of the pistachios.

Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray to make four round shells with a slight hollow in the middle for the filling. Then sprinkle over the remaining pistachio nuts, and bake low in the oven for about an hour, or until they are firm and crisp on the outside. If they brown too quickly you may need to turn the oven down, or put the tray lower down in the oven. When they are cooked leave in the oven to cool - preferably overnight.

To make the Granita.......

225g blackberries (or other soft fruit of your choice)
250mls elderflower and blackcurrant cordial
juice of 1 lemon

....simply puree the fruit with the cordial and push through a fine mesh sieve. Add the lemon juice and then pour into a shallow container and freeze for about an hour. By this time the granita should be starting to freeze around the edges.
Gently stir the crystals with a fork and then put the container back into the freezer. Keep doing this every half hour, taking care not to crush the crystals too much otherwise you will lose the lovely 'grainy' texture.

When the mixture has reached the consistency of a firm slush it's ready to be eaten.
Finally, when you're ready, assemble the meringue with the cream and granita and serve straight away. I know I'm definitely looking forward to a long, hot Summer. It's the perfect excuse for eating lots more lovely meringue with refreshing fruit granita!


LyB said...

Those colors are amazing. I love merigues, there's just something about that crunch, and it sounds incredible with granita. Just beautiful!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

These look heavenly!

zoe francois said...

Yum! These look gorgeous and light and just perfect for a hot day.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Wow, what a beautiful and delicious dessert!

nicisme said...

Beautiful meringues Alfie and the granita looks heavenly!

Hillary said...

What a beautiful dessert! Nice post.

Alfie said...

Thanks everyone for all your lovely comments, and for stopping by!

marye said...

wow. That looks just fantastic!

Hippolyra said...

these sound lovely, and are the second mention of pistachio meringues I have read today.

I must make some this weekend.

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