I have been SO into meringues lately. In all forms: meringue cookies, macarons, toasted meringue toppings. They’re just so versatile, so easy to make, so marshmallowy and delicious. Last weekend, I made a couple batches of brown sugar rum and rose meringues to hand out at our New Year’s Eve party. They were awesome; just so light and crunchy, sweet but not too sweet. Meringues rock.
I’ve been making desserts almost every Friday for the family. We usually all go out to dinner together, so now we meet up at my parent’s house afterwards and have dessert. I try to make only enough for everyone to have the night, so we don’t constantly have a supply of sugary treats in the house. Great for the taste buds, not so much for the waistline.
This week, I decided to make pavlovas. Pavlovas are traditionally a meringue crust with fruit, usually passion fruit, and whipped cream. I decided to veer a little away from tradition. I made a brown sugar meringue crust and filled it with an apple-caramel sauce and a green apple mousse. For the mousse, I based it off the lovely Helene from Tartelette’s recipe for Meyer Lemon mousse. It came out very light and fluffy, almost foamy. It was a great pairing to the dense and heavy caramel.
For both the mousse and the caramel, I used fresh apple juice from a few Granny Smith apples. I advise that you juice the apples IMMEDIATELY before adding them to the recipe. If you leave the juice sitting out too long, it begins to oxidize and lose that lovely green color, taking on a cloudy, brown coloring instead. It also seems to affect the flavor a bit; there’s more of the fresh Granny Smith bite when using the juice immediately. Granny Smith’s are definitely the best for this recipe; they provide that nice tartness to compliment the sweetness of the caramel and meringue. Any other apple would get overpowered by the sugary quality of the sauce.
Apple and caramel are such a great pairing, aren’t they? This dessert was light as a cloud; exactly what I was looking for out of my new meringue recipe. So tell me, what’s your take on meringues? THG
3 large egg whites
Large pinch of salt
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. cornstarch
Green Apple Mousse (based on Tartelette’s recipe here):
1 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. cold water
1 1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh Granny Smith apple juice
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup fresh Granny Smith apple juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 250ºF.
In a stand mixer, whip egg whites and salt on high to stiff peaks. Reduce speed to low and add in brown sugar. Once sugar is incorporated, add vanilla extract, vinegar and cornstarch and whip to incorporate. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spoon out meringue into 7 small 5-6” circles. Smooth a small well into the center of each meringue circle so there is a slight lip at the edge of each. Bake in the middle of oven for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and leave meringues in the oven for another 3 1/2 hours without opening the oven door. Set aside.
For the mousse: Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl and set aside to bloom. In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth and not grainy.
Boil milk and vanilla together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of hot milk to egg yolks and whisk vigorously to temper. Add egg yolk mixture to boiling milk and cook over medium heat until mixture has thickened, stirring constantly. Add juice and stir to incorporate. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on top of mixture to prevent a skin from forming.
In a stand mixer, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Refrigerate to set, about 2 hours.
For the caramel: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk brown sugar and cornstarch together. Add apple juice, vanilla extract, heavy cream and salt and whisk. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in butter and remove from heat to cool.
To assemble: Fill center of the pavlova with about 2 Tbsp. of caramel sauce. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop apple mousse on top of caramel. Drizzle caramel sauce on top of mousse and finish with a thin slice of green apple.