Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grilled Peaches with Pecans and Maple Meringue

I have to admit, I’d never thought about how versatile meringues are. When I received a review copy of the book Meringue Girls, I wondered: how many different recipes could there really be? It turns out, there are several. And, all of them are irresistibly pretty. The Meringue Girls, Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman, created a London-based shop that supplies these lovely treats for special events. Their meringues come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. It’s such a fun book with bright, cheery, pillowy meringues shown on page after page. The photos make you want to jump in and try several options. There’s a base recipe for meringue followed by suggestions for flavors and instructions for adding color and piping shapes. That recipe, in any flavor, can be used for all the various desserts shown in the book. There are filling and flavor options that can be mixed and matched for sandwiched, little meringue kisses like Lemon Curd mixed with poppy seeds and cream cheese placed between kisses that might be tinted yellow or Nutella Buttercream could sandwich chocolate kisses or maybe Green Tea kisses could be filled with chocolate ganache. Among the desserts and puddings, there’s Raspberry Ripple and Meringue Gelato made with broken kisses; a Pistachio and Rose Water Pavlova with Greek Yogurt, Honey, and Figs; and a Pretzel and Chocolate Marshmallow Meringue Tart to name a few. Since our Texas peaches are at the peak of their season, I had to try the Grilled Peaches with Maple Meringues. In the book, the halved, grilled peaches are sprinkled with crushed amaretti cookies before being topped with swirls of maple meringue that are browned. I opted for chopped toasted pecans instead of the cookies. For garnish, the peaches are drizzled with maple syrup. 

The maple meringue is made like an Italian meringue but heated maple syrup is used instead of sugar syrup. Maple syrup was heated to 235 degrees F before it was slowly poured into egg whites that had already been whisked to stiff peaks in a mixer bowl. The mixer was turned up to high, and the eggs and syrup whisked until the mixture was thick and shiny. Next, halved peaches were grilled, and I used a grill pan on the stovetop for these. I scooped the meringue into a piping bag to squeeze dollops onto each peach. I used a kitchen torch to brown the meringue, and I’ve realized the torch is the funnest tool there is in the kitchen. The peaches were transferred to a serving platter, I scattered chopped pecans all around and on top of them, and a little maple syrup was added to finish. 

The browned maple meringue dressed up the peach halves, and the maple flavor was a great match for the sweet fruit and crunchy pecans. This meringue doesn’t have to be baked, or torched, and another use for it is to fill doughnuts which I’d love to try. With all of these delicious ideas I’d never thought of before, I think I’ll be making meringues more often. 

Grilled Peaches With Crushed Amaretti Cookies and Maple Meringue 
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Meringue Girls

Our maple meringue has a lovely golden color and is absolutely delicious. Here, we use it dolloped on top of grilled peaches filled with crunchy amaretti cookies. For a super-summery dessert, try cooking the peaches on an outdoor grill. 

Serves 4 

4 peaches, halved and pitted 
8 to 12 amaretti cookies, crushed 
Maple Meringue (see separate recipe) 
Maple syrup for drizzling 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heat a large ovenproof grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. Place the peach halves cut-side down in the pan and cook without moving them until dark grill lines have formed, about 4 minutes. Turn the peach halves over, slide the pan into the oven, and cook until the peaches are just softened (but not falling apart), about 10 minutes. If you’ll be browning the meringue under the broiler, preheat the broiler. 

Fill the center of each peach half with crushed amaretti cookies and dollop maple meringue on top. Brown the meringue under the broiler or with a kitchen torch until golden. 

Carefully transfer the peaches to a serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve right away. 

Maple Meringue 
This maple meringue uses natural maple syrup instead of refined sugar. It's made like an Italian meringue—you heat the syrup to a high temperature and add it to the stiff egg whites. The earthy and rich maple flavor really comes through. The meringue doesn’t need to be baked, so it's perfect for our Maple Meringue Doughnuts. It also works really well in recipes for baked meringues (you can make kisses with it) or as a topping for waffles. You will need a candy thermometer for cooking the syrup. 

Makes 3 cups 

1⁄2 cup maple syrup 
60 g egg whites (from about 2 eggs) 

Put the maple syrup in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Place over medium heat. 

When the syrup approaches 220°F, begin whisking the egg whites on low speed in a stand mixer. When they’re frothy, increase the speed to high and beat until the whites hold stiff peaks. 

When the syrup has come up to 235°F, turn the mixer speed to medium and slowly stream in the hot maple syrup. Once you’ve added all the syrup, whisk on high speed until the meringue is thick and a little shiny; this will take 5 to 7 minutes. The meringue is now ready to use. 

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24 comments:

  1. Delightful! This refined and heavenly dessert is perfect.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. That Maple Meringue makes grilled peaches really special :)

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  3. Not only the combination of flavors sounds amazing, Lisa, the dessert looks so beautiful! I love the idea of using maple syrup to flavor the meringue.

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  4. Your peaches look so addictive and delicious :D
    It is the perfect way to enjoy a decadent fruity dessert!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  5. What a lovely dessert. I've made meringue out of a lot of things but never maple syrup. I'd love to try this xx

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  6. Oh this looks delightful! What a beautiful summery dessert - the grilled peaches sound absolutely divine.

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  7. while i've never actually had a grilled peach, i know i'd love it, especially with the accoutrements you've shown!

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  8. I really want to take a look at this book now! It sounds amazing and like you I never really considered how versatile meringues are! :D

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  9. What a sweet idea! Great use of beautiful fresh peaches and I love meringue! Really great dessert idea for dinner guests.

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  10. Gorgeous! There's something so special about grilled fruit!

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  11. Oh yes please, the peaches look absolutely wonderful.

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  12. OMY I love peaches Lisa and with meringue:)) Awesome!

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  13. Simply delectable, Lisa. Excellent choice and presentation. Sooooooo pinned!!! Thanks for sharing, Lisa...The notion of a book filled with meringue recipes is oh so intriguing:)

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  14. Il love meringue and this récipe looks so delicious ...and pictures are so beautiful !

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  15. Maple syrup meringue is a first for me.... what a great idea!

    beautiful post, Lisa!

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  16. Wow, love this! We do grilled peaches sometimes, but usually add ice cream to the dish. Definitely have to try meringue, particularly maple syrup meringue! Love the idea of that -- thanks.

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  17. OMG, this peaches look fabulous Lisa, I like the meringue on it...such a nice presentation!
    Have a wonderful weekend :D

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  18. Looks so yummy!

    kiss
    from
    sunny
    Greece

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  19. great dessert, never even thought to had meringue ove roasted fruits before,
    thx for such inspiring post, i think i'm gonna threat ,y nectarine this way!

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  20. So many creative ideas for meringue! :O These look so pretty, and I bet they taste amazing too! Love the idea of maple meringue!

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  21. What a fabulous dessert, Lisa. And such an interesting book. I'd love to read all the recipes in it, they sound intriguing. Peaches are marvelous right now, love them roasted or grilled. You've taken them over the top with your meringue.

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  22. This looks deslishes! Will try it soon.

    xoxo
    www.cookwithdesy.com

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  23. This dessert looks sensational, and I'll have to check out that cookbook. I do love my meringues!

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