This is one combination that I love and which allows these petite meringues to stand on their own - both literally and in flavour. The sugar lifts the sweetness to incorporate hints of caramel and treacle, and the addition of vanilla and spice adds a further layer and dimension. As well as flavour these have a surprising combination of crunch and chew due to the use of muscovado sugar. I find it hard to eat meringues on their own due to their overwhelming sweetness, but in this case I make an exception.
A nice surprise is to plop some of these in a cup of frothy milk, or to create something extra special try wedging two together with some really good quality chocolate - white or dark would be equally delicious.
3 egg whites (or about 120g of egg whites
170g light muscovado sugar (or substitute light brown sugar)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
a good pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
6 whole cardamon pods
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Mix together the egg whites and sugar in a clean and dry, medium sized heat proof bowl.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water over low heat and whisk gently until the mixture feels warm to touch (about 37 degrees celsius) and the sugar has mostly dissolved.
Wipe over a dry, clean large mixer bowl with some paper towel dipped in the vinegar. Use the whisk attachment of the mixer and give this a wipe with vinegar too. It is very important that everything is clean and free from water or oil.
Transfer the warm egg white mixture into the bowl along with the salt and cream of tartar.
Whisk until thick and glossy and the mixture has cooled down.
Meanwhile bash the cardamon pods using a mortar and pestle as finely as possible.
Sift the crushed pods over the meringue using a coarse sieve (this gets rid of the husks and bigger chunks of seed) and stir this in well along with the vanilla bean paste.
Heat an oven to 100 degrees, fan forced.
Line two to three baking trays with baking paper.
Pipe small meringues onto the paper using either a plain round or star shaped nozzle.
Bake the meringue in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, turning the oven down another 20 degrees if they are starting to brown.
Switch off the oven and leave the meringues in there to cool for another 2 hours so that they can dry out further.
To secure the baking paper onto the trays, it helps to spot a few blobs of meringue between the paper and the tray to help ‘glue’ it down.
Store the meringues in an airtight container.
Try experimenting with spice such as cinnamon ,chai or a custom mixed spice blend. Liquorice flavours and orange would also be a delicious complement to these meringues.