How to make crunchy, chewy Toasted Nut Meringues, courtesy of the amazing Stella Parks of Bravetart.
At work I’m often stuck with a rag tag collection of broken meringue nests, cracked macaron shells, and pulverized bits from a leftover jar of candied pecans.
Jumbled together, these unattractive-but-delicious doodads make a thrifty garnish for Cranberry Pumpkin Parfait, but that approach doesn’t exactly make sense at home. You don’t need need such a nuanced collection of crunchies when a handful of meringues will crumble into something equally crispy/chewy/nutty/perfect.
As a Southern gal, I always wind up reaching for pecans, but feel free to use whatever’s on hand. While I’m just crumbling them up for a crunchy garnish, the recipe will work equally well for making meringue shells, cookies or dacquoise.
Toasted Nut Meringues
- Preheat the oven to 225° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you’d like, prepare a piping bag with a ½” plain tip. Otherwise, you’ll need an offset spatula or spoon to spread the meringue into a thin layer.
- Pulse the pecans and powdered sugar in a food processor until fine, or stop after a few seconds to keep the texture chunky. Set aside.
- Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir with a fork until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites feel hot. Use a whisk attachment to whip the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium high and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, another 5 minutes or so.
- Take the bowl off the mixer and add the ground pecan/powdered sugar mixture all at once. Fold with a flexible spatula until well combined.
- Transfer the meringue to a piping bag, if using, and pipe roughly two dozen 3” discs. Otherwise, spread 10 ounces of meringue into a ¼” layer over each baking sheet.
- Dry the meringues in the oven until they peel easily from the parchment and no longer feel damp inside; about 90 minutes. For a chewier meringue, reduce the bake time to 75 minutes.
- However you bake the meringues, turn the oven off and use the handle of a wooden spoon to hold the door ajar. Let the meringues cool inside the oven until they come to room temperature.
- For cookies, leave the meringue discs whole. For meringue crumbles, smash each disc or sheet of meringue with the bottom of a coffee mug. This low key approach creates an awesome mix of jagged shards, crumbles, and powdery pieces.