Coffee Kisses

These little lovelies combine two of my favourite dessert components – coffee and meringue, which really are a fabulous pair. Meltingly light meringues are sandwiched together with whipped cream (flavoured with coffee in this recipe, but do experiment with other flavours) to make a delicious little tea-time treat.

Ingredients
2 egg whites
110g white caster sugar
For the coffee cream:
100ml double cream
1 tbsp high-quality ground coffee
2 tbsp icing sugar

Makes 16 meringues, for 8 kisses

Preheat the oven to 150°C (140°C fan).

Making meringues is much easier than a lot of people think – you just have to stick to the golden rules, the first of which is: make sure you don’t get any yolk in the egg whites. If you do, the whites won’t whip up properly, so separate them very carefully. Once you’ve done that, use an electric whisk (you can do this by hand, but you’d better have pretty good muscles, because it’ll take a while!) to beat the egg whites until they are really white and fluffy, and soft peaks are starting to form.

Next, weigh out the sugar. Add a little bit at a time to the egg whites, whisking each time, until you’ve added all the sugar. You should end up with a really thick, glossy mixture, which can form and hold stiff peaks without collapsing. If you really want to test it, you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the meringue falling out – but it’s up to you whether you do this! Sal’s Kitchen will not be responsible if you end up wearing the mixture as a hat…

Another thing that’s really important with meringues is that you use the right equipment to bake them in the oven – you mustn’t use greaseproof paper, or they will stick fast, and no amount of delicate work with a fish slice will budge them. Instead, use baking parchment, which is specially treated to make it very non-stick (I have also used a clean, dry baking tray, and with a little gentle pressure, the meringues have come off easily).

Use a dessert spoon to scoop out dollops of meringue and place them about 4cm apart on the baking tray. It’s up to you whether you neaten up the tops or leave the point that will naturally occur as the mixture drops off the spoon – personally I think they look prettier with a little spire! Place in the oven, set a timer for 30 minutes and immediately turn the temperature down to 140°C (130°C fan). The final golden rule of meringue making is this: don’t open the oven during cooking. The meringues need a hot, dry environment to become crispy and light, so you don’t want to introduce any cold air. Once the time is up, turn the oven off, but leave the meringues in there (with the door shut) until the oven has completely cooled.

When you’re ready to finish off the meringue kisses, make the whipped cream. Pour the double cream into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until it’s just starting to thicken up – it’s important not to over-whip cream, as it ends up clumpy and ugly-looking (although it does still taste lovely). Add the coffee and icing sugar, and whisk again until soft peaks form.

Finally, spread the bottom of one meringue with cream and then gently sandwich it with another one (try and pick meringues that have come out as similar shapes). Serve as part of an elegant afternoon tea.


These meringues will be at their best on the day of making, but you can keep them for a couple of days – place in an airtight container and store in the fridge.