We found some beautiful apricots here recently, which in itself is a feat, as they are normally either green-ish and hard or prohibitively expensive, and I, coming from a country that produces this fruit in abundance, miss them sorely. So we bought a whole crate and resolved to finally make Marillenknödel again. We now have 18 of them in the freezer, 2 in the fridge and 4 each in our tummies (Hubby's and mine, not Baby's! Although Baby likes aprictos au nature too.)and they are great.
After our cooking adventures, we discovered we had been left with 9 egg whites - yikes! Not sure what to do and wracking our brains for something this would suit, we came upon my love for Eton mess, another speciality from one of my homes, the UK, which requires meringue. Anyone who says English food is terrible has just not had the right English food! We get our fixes of UK food regularly either from passing visitors, on our trips there or our trusty British Corner Shop, which even does cider, a drink which I, not having grown up getting horribly drunk on it as a teenager, love.
However, we have never dared making meringue before, so approached this challenge with a great amount of respect and some trepidation. None of our cookbooks were very helpful, yielding mostly very complicated recipes or dishes that weren't quite what we were looking for. So we resorted to the all-knowing internet. And, lo and behold, we found an amazing, in fact the ultimate, meringue recipe from bbc.
So here is my slightly unusual Austrian British cooking combo for all to enjoy! I recommend making these together, in order to avoid having an abundance of egg whites at home, unless you like egg white omelette, which I have never quite understood.
Here we go.
The lovely recipe is from our Kaiser & Schmarrn cookbook (in German) by Margit Proebst, which we have found to be very useful. We did, however, tweak the recipe a bit, to suit our apricots.
For the dough you need:
350 gr Topfen (curd cheese, somewhere between cottage cheese and cream cheese; Quark for the German readers out there)
a pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
~ 260 gr flour
6 sugar cubes
80 gr butter
80 gr bread crumbs
Mix the Topfen with the salt and egg yolks and knead in enough of the flour to get a smooth dough. This is tricky as the Topfen makes the whole affair rather sticky. We tend to go for putting in enough flour in order to be able to get the dough off your fingers and into a ball (sort of).
Wash and dry the apricots. Remove the pit by pushing the end of a wooden cooking spoon into the top of the fruit, where the stem was, which will make the pit plop out the other end of the apricot. Insert one sugar cube (for bigger apricots or a sweeter tooth, two).
Divide the dough into six roughly even pieces, and roll them into balls. Flatten each ball and place the apricot in the middle, moulding the dough around the fruit until all seams are closed.
Boil water in a large saucepan, add salt, and put the dumplings in. Turn the heat down to low and leave for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the dumplings pop to the water's surface.
Melt the butter in a pan. Add the bread crumbs and brown them. After having removed a dumpling from the water, shake the water off and roll it in the bread crumbs.
Dust with powdered sugar.
We doubled this recipe due to the number of whites we had left.
4 egg whites, at room temperature
115 gr caster sugar
115 gr powdered sugar
Preheat oven (fan) to 100 deg C. Line two baking trays with either a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper (meringues stick to foil and baking paper).
Tip whites into large, clean bowl (not plastic) and start beating at medium speed until mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and peaks stand up after you take out the mixer.
Turn the mixing speed up and start adding, in teaspoon portions, the caster sugar until all is mixed in. Adding the sugar in too quickly will make meringues weep later. Don't over beat. When you are done the mixtures should be stiff and glossy.
Sift one third of the icing sugar over the mix and fold in. Continue to sift over and fold in the remaining sugar one third at a time. Don't over mix. When you done the mix will be soft and billowy.
Using two dessert spoons, place small portions of the meringue on the baking trays. Bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours until the meringues sound solid and crisp when tapped from below and are a light coffee colour above.
This shows about a quarter of what we made. :)
For Eton mess, break up some of the meringues once they have cooled down and mix with whipped cream and cut, fresh strawberries. Also great with raspberries.