Just occasionally, you make a dessert that, while it may seem simple enough, everyone raves about it being the “best ever”. This was such a dessert.
Ironically, the idea for the dessert came in fits and starts – beginning with the need to use up some spare mascarpone I had in the fridge. I got to thinking it would be nice to make a flavoured cream by combining the mascarpone with heavy cream and some (as yet undecided) flavouring, and serving it in meringue nests.
A few days later, I happened to pick up a magazine from Donna Hay (Issue 91, Feb/Mar 2017), and spied a coffee syrup she used in one of her ice-box recipes. And, boom, I knew exactly what I was going to make – meringue nests with coffee flavoured cream and syrup.
So I made a bunch of meringue nests (thanks to Gordon Ramsay), and a batch of coffee syrup (which is absolutely stunning, by the way, and completely versatile), adding some of it into the cream filling and reserving the rest for drizzling over top of the dessert.
And, may I say… divine, delicious, to die for! Yes, it’s simple and super quick to put together (especially if you make all the components ahead of time), but by crikey, it delivers on taste and texture! I made it two weeks running, simply because everyone loved it so much. I hope you do too. Enjoy!
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 150g (5.2 oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) strong espresso (about 2 shots)
- 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I used
- 1/2 cup (125ml) pure maple syrup
- 150g (5.2 oz) mascarpone
- 150g (5.2 oz) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 1 tablespoon coffee syrup (see recipe above)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Grated dark chocolate
- Heat oven to 110C (230F). Place baking parchment on a large baking sheet. Using a pencil, draw 6-8 circles 3-4 inches round onto the parchment (I made 6 fairly big nests). Turn the parchment upside down on the baking sheet - you should still see the drawn circles which you will use as a guide.
- Add the egg whites and lemon juice into the clean bowl of a food mixer and whisk attachment. Beat at a low speed until the whites form soft peaks, then start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time, incorporating completely before adding the next. Whisk until all the sugar has been added and the whites are stiff and glossy.
- Spoon the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a plain or star nozzle. Pipe concentric circles, starting in the middle of the circle until you reach the outside of your drawn circle then, in a continuous action, come up over the meringue edge and pipe one or two rings around the outer edge to create the nest walls (I used a large star nozzle and piped one ring of meringue).
- Bake for 1-3/4 - 2 hrs until they are crisp and lift off the paper easily. Leave to cool completely in the oven. NB: The meringues can be stored in a sealed container for a few days. If the weather is humid, place a tablespoon of baking soda in a small dish - it will absorb the moisture.
- Place the espresso, liqueur and maple syrup in a small saucepan over moderately high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 5-6 minutes or until reduced and syrupy.* Refrigerate to cool completely.
- In a bowl, stir together mascarpone and cream until combined. Add icing sugar, coffee syrup and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Refrigerate until needed.
- Just before serving, place coffee cream in a piping bag and pipe a swirl of cream into the meringue nests. Swirl the coffee syrup either over of the coffee cream, or in a circular pattern on the plate (as I did). Scatter the grated dark chocolate over top and serve.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting