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Meringues as Petits Fours
An excellent petits fours, closely associated with Nico Ladenis, who often offered it at his various ‘Chez Nico’ restaurants. They are very easy to make, and keep well for a few days in an air-tight tin, but you do need a jam-type thermometer – as temperatures are crucial.
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For a batch suitable for a dinner party, plus a few to nibble:
100ml/4 fl. oz/ 7 tablespoons Egg Whites (probably 4 medium egg whites)
200gr/6 oz Caster Sugar
100gr/3 oz shelled Almonds, with their skins on
Equipment needed: Food Processor. Jam-type Thermometer. Electric Mixer or Electric Whisk. Piping Bag. Silicon-type Baking Parchment Paper. Large baking tray.
1. Dry roast the almonds in a medium oven 180ºC/375ºF for about 20 minutes, then grind them to a coarse powder (not dust) in a food processor. Set these aside.
2. Put the egg whites and sugar into a clean bowl, and heat the mixture to 70ºC/158ºF over a pan of simmering water – whisking continuously.
3. Warm the bowl of an electric mixer, then making sure that it’s completely dry, before putting in the egg white mixture.
4. Whisk this until it’s completely cold.
5. Fold in the coarsely-chopped almonds.
6. Return the oven to 180C/375F, and lay out the parchment paper on to a large baking tray.
7. Put the egg mixture into a piping bag, and pipe the mixture into 2.5cm/1 ins blobs, separating them a little.
8. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are firm. But check regularly after 12 minutes in case you have a ‘hot’ oven.
Delicious, well worth the effort!