Meringues are not only delicious, they are extremely versatile. Last week, Annie Schennum, who trained and taught at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in London, showed us that meringues are easier to make than you might think. This week she shares two of her favorite recipes for meringue: strawberry vacherin and meringue cookies with raspberry coulis.
Vacherin is a French dessert made with meringue rings filled with either ice cream or whipped cream and fruit. It is thought that the dessert took its name from the French cheese, vacherin, because it is also round and white.
Traditionally the meringue rings have a well inside them to hold the fillings, but they can also be made with flat discs of meringue, as in Schennum's recipe. This has two benefits — meringue discs are easier to make yourself and the result, with the layers of fruit and cream visible, makes for a more beautiful dessert.
Schennum whips a cup of heavy cream with 2 teaspoons of confectioner's sugar and a few drops of vanilla. She places one of her meringue disks on a serving plate and covers it with the whipped cream. She has chosen strawberries as her fruit, but she highlights that "you could use a combination of fruits." She arranges the sliced strawberries on the cream, places another meringue disc on top and sifts over some confectioner's sugar.
"If you really want to get fancy we can pipe rosettes of cream on the top and decorate with some fresh strawberries" she says and demonstrates how it's done. "And there we have our vacherin au frais, a strawberry vacherin."
For her second dessert, Schennum takes two small meringues and sticks them together, base to base, with a small dollop of whipped cream in between. She dusts them with confectioner's sugar and drizzles over some raspberry coulis.