5.11.2019

Still Dreaming...

You would think the glow would have worn off by now. It has been more than 6 months, for Pete’s sake!

But here I am in Tucson, still dreaming of Sicily.

Markipedia always writes up our travels after we return - a travelogue in several short (for him) installments.

Right now, he is on chapter 23 of his Sicilian musings, and doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

To say that Sicily had a profound effect on us is an understatement, and I find it difficult to put the “why” into words.

So I put it into food. You knew that was coming!

I was looking for a light dessert to follow a meal comprised entirely of traditional Sicilian recipes. Meringues fit the “light” bill. They create a soft billowy pillow on which I can rest my Sicilian dreams.

~ David

Sicilian Meringues
This are not a traditional Sicilian recipe, so what makes me call them Sicilian? The Fiori di Sicilia extract (you can find it at Sur la Table, and King Arthur). While not Italian in origin, it evokes springtime in the Sicilian countryside when myriad citrus trees are in full bloom. Also, the chocolate I used was from Modica, a small city in southeastern Sicily known for its chocolate. Its texture is grainy, similar to the Mexican chocolate we use to make hot chocolate.

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia extract *
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1 3-ounce chocolate bar, about 72% cacao 

     * if you don't have or cannot find Fiori di Sicilia, you can use
       1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. Coarsely chop the chocolate bar and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, Fiori di Sicilia, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Very gradually, add the sugar - this should take almost 3 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat for an additional 5 minutes at high speed. The egg whites should be glossy and stiff but not dry. Add the chopped chocolate and turn on the mixer for a couple of seconds to distribute it evenly in the meringue.

Spoon the mixture into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe 1 1/2-inch meringues onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between each. If necessary, prepare a second baking sheet for additional meringues. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, just spoon dollops of the batter onto the prepared sheets – done this way they may not be as pretty, but they will still taste fantastic!)

Bake for 50 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven for an additional hour. Remove and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 36 meringues.


32 comments:

  1. Traditionally Sicilian or not, these dainty meringues sure would round off a dinner party nicely. I'm now going to research Modica, as I don't recall even seeing on the map when we were in Sicily.

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    1. John - you were practically in Modica when you visited Ragusa and Noto! Next time... I find the Modica chocolate is best for cooking and baking.

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  2. *smile* Well, I would not be an Aussie unless I could make and bake a pavlova with my eyes closed ! Thus we are on the same page ! These are delightful and will be made soonest as long as you understand they will be called David's biscuits - no cookies this side of the Pond !

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    1. I love that you will refer to the as David’s Biscuits, Eha!

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  3. You have reminded me of my grandmother's meringues and I thank you for that more than you can imagine... haven't had them for years now .....but here you go with your version :-)

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    1. It is so wonderful when food takes us back to places and people early in our lives, Davorka. I’m so glad that these meringues did that for you.

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  4. Beautiful cookies and a beautiful post. I love when a visit to a different country is so memorable and inspiring. I actually own that extract. Back when I cooked a LOT I probably owned everything from King Arthur's catalog! If it's still around, it might have dried up, or maybe I used it all, but I do remember the smell. Lovely.

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    1. So few people know the extract, Mimi! I hope yours hasn’t dried up!

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  5. A lovely post David and your meringue cookies look divine. What can I substitute for the Fiori do Sicilia?

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    1. I should have said so in the post, Gerlinde - I would suggest 1/2 teaspoon each of vanilla and orwmge blossom water.

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  6. I love meringues and I might just love your ceramic measuring spoons with the hearts even more! Yum and beautiful! :-)

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    1. Aren't they the sweetest spoons? A gift from my friend Laura.

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  7. I do believe you might have the Sicilian fever. When diagnosed early, one should have a brisk and cheerful recovery. The cure is said to be regular trips to Sicily and loads of your Sicilian Meringues.
    Fiori di Sicilia is such an interesting extract. I've had it in cookies but I've not cooked with it. I'll be checking at the Italian market for this when next there. Thanks for sharing your dreams.

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    1. I really do have it bad Ron! I think anyone who has been there understands! Your note makes me think I should try the Fiori di Sicilia in a braised dish... something Middle Eastern I think... or maybe Sicilian!

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  8. David, these meringues are irresistible, especially with the chocolate in them! I have to look for the Fiori di Sicilia - it sounds wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly - the only places I have found the extract are at the source - King Arthur - or in Sur la Table stores.

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  9. May you dream of Sicily and the delicious food for a long time!

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  10. Perfectly beautiful little sweets. I can get obsessed with certain destinations and the food we encounter there too. My answer is to return as often as I can (foregoing other destinations for while). I'm currently stuck in Baja mode. GREG

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    1. Also good advice, Greg. In fact, I should talk to you and see what you know about Todos Santos in Baja... Looks like we will be going in January...

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  11. David, this looks great- gotta get me some of that Fiori di Sicilia extract!

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  12. my mum didn't make meringues but she did make pavlova again like a true blue aussie mum does! these look fabulous david.

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    1. I love pavlovas, Sherry! Never had one till I was an adult. You are lucky your mum made them for you!

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  13. oops why did i say again? maybe i meant now and then:=)

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  14. Never used Fiori di Sicilia -- I should get acquainted with it. Sounds lovely in these cookies -- I'll never turn down meringue-anything. Thanks!

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    1. John - Fiori di Sicilia is a great addition to cocktails! You will love it!

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  15. Can't go wrong with meringues in my mind David!

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    1. Especially when one is trying to be good, Inger!

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  16. Only 6 months? I'm still dreaming about Sicily and I was there when I was 19! Honestly, it's such an amazing place, I totally understand why you'd be dreaming about it only a few months later.

    Meringues are one of my most favorite things on earth, so twist my arm: I'll take 3! :)

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    1. Christina – you definitely need to take four!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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