The house was swathed in mist today. The ash trees loomed out of it like giants, and below us the valley was filled with thick, damp air.
I whipped up some gingerbread meringues as an antidote to the cold and grey. Mine were made in great dollops, but you could pipe the mixture in small splodges if you prefer more dainty proportions. They can be eaten alone spread with a layer of dark chocolate, or sandwiched together with marscarpone.
The trick to achieving perfectly whisked egg whites is a squeaky clean bowl. A quick wipe round its inside with a drop of vinegar on a piece of kitchen towel will get rid of any traces of greasiness. If possible avoid using plastic bowls for meringue-making as they tend to retain a slightly greasy film.
You will need:
3 egg whites
22g caster sugar
150g light muscovado sugar
¾ tspn ground ginger
Heat the oven to 140 degrees centigrade/ gas mark 1.
Combine the muscovado sugar and ginger.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean glass bowl until they form soft peaks.
Gradually add the caster sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy.
Quickly fold the muscovado sugar and ginger into the egg whites using a metal spoon, taking care not to knock the air out of your whisked whites.
Dollop or pipe the meringue mixture on to baking trays lined with baking parchment. The mixture makes about 14 dolloped meringues.
Place the trays in the bottom of your oven for an hour, then remove and allow the meringues to cool.
When you are ready to serve them, melt the chocolate and spread on the flat side of each meringue.
While the chocolate is setting, finely chop the stem ginger and mix with the marscarpone.
Spread each chocolate-coated side of meringue with a layer of marscarpone, then sandwich the meringues together in pairs. To make up two sandwiches, I used about 30g of chocolate, one ball of stem ginger and about a third of a 250g tub of marscarpone, but you can alter the quantities to suit your taste.