Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Almond Meringue Seashells

I've always wondered at those people who eat a whole block of chocolate in one sitting. I'm not judging. I've probably done it before too. After last weekend, I assure you I felt like doing just that!
I don't wonder at why anyone does it, I wonder at the flavours and the textures they are missing by eating it so rapidly. When I was a kid, sometimes we'd get treated with a couple of squares of chocolate on Sunday arvos. There are ten of us kids, so as you can imagine a block of chocolate didn't go far. We didn't care, we were satisfied with a small amount.
I remember sitting there and nibbling away at those squares like it was the last food I would ever taste, just because I appreciated the thrill of it so much.
It seriously made it taste better. You'd let it sit in your mouth long enough for it to melt, and savor it, before taking another cm bite of chocolate to repeat the blissful sensation. You experience different levels of flavour and texture that way, and I often think these levels of appreciation are missed when people robotically eat something. I'd probably have missed it all together if I'd been dealt out two rows of chocolate as a treat instead of two squares.
So when you bite into these Almond Meringue Shells, fully experience the layers of flavours and textures in your mouth. It takes it to a new level!
There's that great and delicate crunch with the toasted almond, then a crisp shell of meringue before the softer spongier layer, and then a hit creamy of vanilla. It's truly a delight to eat your food slowly. Unless you're a toddler, and then I just want you to hurry up. One hour is too long to chew a spoonful. Seriously, my son may look like his father, but he takes after me.


2 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup slithered almonds
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
dash of water

Preheat oven to 150C. Line two trays with baking paper.
Beat the egg whites on the highest setting until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating well in between, until sugar dissolves,  and the mixture is thick, smooth and glossy. Pipe meringue mixture onto the baking sheets, in small round disc shapes (about the size of the circle made when you join your thumb and pointer together). Sprinkle the tops with the slithered almonds. Bake for one hour, alternating the trays at the end of the first half hour. Cool with the oven door slightly ajar.
To make the icing, in a small bowl combine the icing sugar and vanilla. Add a very small amount of water at a time, stirring the mixture until a thick frosting forms. Pair the meringues together with this icing in between. Store in an airtight container.


Give me some sugar, Sugar...