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.
1 tbsp high-quality ground coffee
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
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.
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.