Meringues with mastic
"Ashuplados kon almastica”
These elegant, ivory-coloured meringues are crunchy to the bite, yet soft and chewy inside with the pine scented ground mastic crystals. These individual meringues are utterly divine at teatime. For a twist on tradition sprinkle powdered cocoa, flaked almonds, chopped pistachios or swirl with crushed raspberries. My updated twist to transform this classic meringue to an exotic prepare-ahead dessert is to stack them on a platter and top them with lightly whipped cream, freshly sliced mangoes and a drizzle of warm passion fruit (granadilla) syrup. Meringues are the ideal flourless sweet offerings for Passover.
6 egg whites
300g (10½oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 crystals mastic, crushed with 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
½ cup chopped pistachios
¾ cup flaked almonds or ½ cup cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Put the egg whites in a clean bowl of a free-standing electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until the whites double in volume and hold a slightly bent peak when you lift the whisk. Add half the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, incorporating each tablespoon completely before adding the next one. Tip in the remaining sugar and whisk until the whites are stiff and glossy. Fold in the ground mastic and vanilla extract with a metal spoon.
With two large metal spoons, take a big spoonful of the meringue mixture, the size of a small orange and scrape it off placing it onto the baking trays. Repeat spacing the meringues well apart. I like large individual spiky ones. Top with chopped pistachios, flaked almonds or sprinkle with cocoa powder when making for afternoon tea or leave plain if using as a dessert.
Bake for about 70 minutes or until they are crisp, depending on the size of the meringues. Check that the underside is firm to the touch and dry. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for 30 minutes or overnight as I do.k. Serve warm. Makes 20.
• Stella’s Hints: The meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.