The dolce that I created last summer, a concoction that included fresh fruit, gelato and crema pasticcera during our stay with family in Trento called for the freshest meringhe we could find, so Albina (my host mother) went out and made a special trip to her most trusted pasticceria in town. See, Albina has very high standards. I had no doubt they’d be perfect and this was no exception: crunchy yet light as a feather, they seemingly disappeared in your mouth, much like trying to bite down on a cloud—if that were even possible. The interplay between the meringhe and creamy, cold gelato, together with the velvety-smooth pastry cream and punctuated by fresh fruit was perfect. So much texture in one mouthful, you’ll never see a dessert devoured as fast.
This was a surprising discovery. It takes so little time to mix them, you’ll spend more time piping them on the baking sheet. Then you bake on low heat and leave them in the oven to cool overnight. They’re heavenly, ethereal and look so advanced even I surprised myself. Since space was an issue for copy in the magazine, I could only include four recipes. This was a component of the dessert, cascata di fragole, but the recipe for it had to be left out. It is included here so that you, too, can have fun with it. Sure, you can always purchase these treats, but there is a special satisfaction you get in making them and including them as a component in a dessert. Truth be told, they’re good as-is.
Servings: about 2 dozen
Preheat oven to 95º C / 200º F.
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add:
4 large egg whites
Beat until frothy and add:
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
With the mixer on medium, add to mixture by tablespoons
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon superfine sugar
Beat until very stiff and glossy. Sift over mixture and fold in:
1 cup powdered sugar
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large, star tip and pipe in circles on a silicone baking mat. Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven overnight to fully cool.
Immediately store in a covered jar in a cool and dark place.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
•Use the freshest egg whites, the taste makes all the difference with this recipe.
•Avoid making these during periods of high humidity.
•If the finished products are not totally crispy, stick them back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes, being careful not brown them.