1st December 2016
Interview: Molly Tait-Hyland
Photographs: Sophie Davidson
If you find there are too many to consume in one sitting, they do store well (up to a week) in an airtight container.
Makes around 16 palm-sized meringues, or 10 larger
4 egg whites
125g caster sugar
125g dark muscovado sugar
Preheat the oven to 110C/Gas mark ¼, or as low as your oven can go.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until it makes very stiff and dry peaks, the kind that, if you’re brave enough to hold the bowl upside-down, won’t slide and fall onto you. (My kids have tried this, with varying degrees of success.)
Mixing the sugars together well, gradually add them, a tablespoonful at a time, to the egg whites, whisking thoroughly between each addition. You’ll end up with soft, glossy, caramel-coloured peaks.
Use a dessert spoon to scoop up a heaped quantity of the whipped mixture and ease it onto a prepared baking tray (I use Bake-O-Glide). Use a second spoon to make an oval shape, although the more irregular the more handsome.
Pop the meringues into the preheated oven. It takes 1¼ to 1¾ hours, depending on how dried out you like your meringues. I err on the side of less time in the oven, as I prefer mine crisp on the outside but chewy within.
BURNT HONEY & THYME ICE CREAM
Makes approx. 1.2l
600ml double cream
600ml whole milk
6 large egg yolks
7 tbsp honey, preferably runny
A generous handful of thyme sprigs, washed and gently blotted to remove the water
Pour the milk and double cream into a saucepan and stir in the thyme sprigs.
Bring it just to the point of boiling, then remove from the heat allowing it to cool a little.
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly pour the infused milk/cream mixture into the eggs, whisking well to combine the ingredients.
Pour this into a large saucepan and place over a low heat, gently stirring all the while until the mixture is thickened (make a line with your finger down the spoon; if it stays, the custard is thick enough). Take great care not to let it boil during this process. Allow the custard to cool.
Pour the honey into a small saucepan. Bring it to boil and allow it to bubble for 5 minutes or so, until the scent becomes intense and the colour darkens – it should have the smell of perfumed burnt caramel. At this point, remove it from the heat and place the saucepan in a bowl of chilled water to stop the cooking process.
Pour the burnt honey into the custard mixture and gently stir it through. Now, with a sieve to catch the thyme sprigs, pour the custard into a large bowl, allow to cool completely, then clingfilm the bowl and chill it overnight in the fridge.
The following day, place the custard in an ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.