Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Macaroons and angel food cake

I've become mildly obsessed with meringues lately. It started over Christmas when the Washington Post published a cookie insert that included a raspberry goat cheese meringue cookie. (I've reproduced the recipe below, with some suggested modifications). They were a big hit, so I moved on from there to rosewater angel food cake (courtesy of epicurious.com). Now I have to confess I've never thought it was worth eating, let alone making a cake that didn't include butter or egg yolks. I've long believed that fats are essential to enhancing aromas (and the science bears me out) so I was very pleasantly surprised that rosewater and lemon icing and raspberries really did the trick.

And for the next post that includes a recipe, I resolve to include a photo.

The meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; the cookies can be assembled, covered and refrigerated a few hours before serving. The modification I've suggested is to add almond flour to the mix, so that the meringues don't cook up with a peak, which makes them very odd to balance and store when you sandwich goat cheese and raspberry jam in between)

3 large egg whites

1 cup almond flour

1/2 t cream of tartar

3/4 cup superfine sugar

Pink food coloring paste (optional)

About 3 tablespoons raspberry jam

4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line 1 or 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix almond flour with sugar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment) on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites, until foamy. Then place the bowl of egg whites into a pan of hot water, continue whisking as the whites heat up to 100 degrees. Remove from hot water, add cream of tartar. Gradually beat in sugar/almond flour, mixing to incorporate after each addition, until a smooth, glossy, stiff meringue forms. Add a dot of food coloring paste, if desired.

Use a dot of the meringue mixture to stick down each corner of the parchment paper on the baking sheet. Drop the mixture onto the baking sheet in 1/2- tablespoon amounts spaced 2 inches apart. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (if you are using 2 baking sheets, rotate them top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking). The meringues should be crisp on the outside and should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Carefully dislodge them from the paper and rest them on their sides to cool completely.

To assemble, spread half of the meringues with the jam and the other half with the goat cheese, on their flat sides. Press each jam half against a goat cheese half, resting the cookie sandwiches on their sides. Cover and refrigerate if not serving within 1 hour. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.


Elizabeth said...

Over the holidays, my neighbor brought over a plate of cookies (I love Maine). One selection was what appeared to be a Hazelnut macaroon. Very simple, subtle flavor, the nuts leaving just enough moisture to make the macaroon chewie. Addictive. I thought I'd be able to surface a recipe on epicurious, but haven't found anything there or elsewhere that is as simple (i.e. no chocolate ganache, etc).

Has anyone come across such a recipe?

mashenka@dc said...

I came across a gingerbread macaroon cookie (with apple filling) the other day, but not hazelnuts ...

Will keep an eye out.