“THE AIR UP THERE IN THE CLOUDS IS VERY PURE AND FINE, BRACING AND DELICIOUS. AND WHY SHOULDN’T IT BE? IT IS THE SAME THE ANGELS BREATHE.” Mark Twain.
There was a time when I dreamed about traveling state to state, stopping off to see a baseball game played in every stadium in the country. Well that dream has changed only slightly. I would much rather travel the country visiting bakeries! Have you seen the show Unique Sweets? Well they often have a theme for each show, but they basically feature several bakeries across the country and one of the sweets that they are famous for. One show featured the bakery, Proof, in Los Angeles. And one of the things Proof is known for are these meringues which are about the size of your hand and filled with flavor! They offer chocolate and pistachio, citrus and coconut, and strawberry. What fascinated me is that the strawberry was made with dehydrated strawberries. So I did my best to recreate these using…..
…..dehydrated mandarin oranges!
At Proof, they talked about grinding the dehydrated strawberries into a powder, incorporating that into the meringue and then sprinkling a bit on top as well. So….I had this package of dehydrated mandarin oranges that I found at Trader Joe’s. And so I decided to see how I could work that into a meringue.
I know…..this is kind of a funky and unique product. I bought them on a whim. They are fabulous on their own as a snack. But I originally purchased them thinking I might rehydrate them in a simple syrup and a little Triple Sec and use them to top an orange cake I am planning on making.
Here is what they looked like before they met my mini food processor:
So I ground these pretty little slices into a powder. I used the mini food processor to chop up some pistachios as well. And both of these were folded into the meringues as well as being sprinkled on top before baking. That’s the thing about meringues, they bake so slowly at such a low heat that it doesn’t really change the pretty color on top!
Since they don’t give the recipe on Unique Sweets, I thought I would just use my trusty meringue recipe and wing it with the mix ins. Here’s what I used:
Level of Difficulty: easy
Yields: about 1 dozen pillowy clouds (depending on how large or small you choose to make them)
- 8 1/4 ounces castor sugar
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- the juice of one lemon (I might have tried orange for this recipe but I didn’t have one!)
- 4 Tablespoons of mandarin orange powder (reserve one Tablespoon for sprinkling on top)
- 4 Tablespoons of finely ground pistachios (reserve one Tablespoon for sprinkling on top)
Preheat your oven to 170°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the sugar and lemon juice in the bowl of your electric mixer. Add one egg white and mix for about a minute. The mix may look a little hard, but keep going. Add another egg white, beat for another minute. And when all the egg whites are in, beat until the whites form stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in three Tablespoons each of the orange powder and pistachios and mix for a minute more.
I then used a large serving spoon to scoop the meringue into a cannelle form and placed them on the parchment lined baking sheets. Sprinkle the remaining orange powder and pistachios evenly over all of the meringues and place them in the oven. Bake at 170°F for 1 1/2 hours. Then turn off the heat, open the oven doors a crack, and let them sit in the oven until cooled.
I love the crunchy, soft, chewiness of home made meringues. But I love them even more when they are a bigger cookie like these. I think these could really be dressed up for Easter! And of course, you could always pipe them into shapes or make them smaller if you’d like. But they are heavenly!
Perfect clouds of heaven! In every soft , chewy bite!
So use your imagination and mix and match flavors and ENJOY!