In Italy we eat a lot of small cakes or biscuits, particularly after the siesta to give us a burst of energy. Often they are taken to a friend's house and shared over a cup of coffee and lots of gossip. Wrapped in colored cellophane, they make wonderful presents.
Makes about 18 meringues
4 egg whites
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (see below)
1/4 cup (1-1/4 ounces) whole almonds, toasted
1/4 cup (1-1/4ounces) whole hazelnuts, toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding the sugar. Never add the sugar all at once, because the egg white mixture would collapse.
3. Coarsely chop the nuts, and fold them carefully into the meringue mixture.
4. Spoon 2 teaspoons for each meringue onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 1-1/2hours, or until you get little crisp mounds.
5. Let the meringues cool, then store them in an airtight container.
Vanilla sugar can be made by burying a vanilla pod in a container of granulated or superfine sugar. I score the outside of the pod first to release as much of the essential oil as possible. As you use the sugar up, simply add more unflavored sugar to the container.
Quick and Simple Vegetarian Cooking
by Ursula Ferrigno
Hardcover, 224 pages
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created September 2002
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