Almond Meringue Cake

My mother used to buy little cakes called Japs from the English bakers where we lived in Lancashire.

We both loved them.

I now know that the name is shortened from Japonais  – which is French for Japanese style.  How they came by this name seems to be a mystery.

Traditionally they were two circles of almond meringue sandwiched together with a butter cream (often coffee flavour), covered with more butter cream and nibbled nuts.

When I came across this recipe for an almond meringue cake, lots of memories came flooding back.

The proportions for the meringue are:

50g of caster sugar & 25g of ground almonds per egg white.

I used 4 egg whites in this version.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds

Method

  • Use the loose bases of two baking tin – 20cm in diameter.
  • Lightly grease the circles.
  • Cut a 2 x 20cm circles of grease-proof paper and stick them onto the metal circles.
  • Place each circle on a large baking tray.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM1 – 140°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the ground almonds.
  • Spoon and smooth half the mixture onto each circle.
  • Bake for 50 minutes (swap shelves half way through).
  • Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside for 20 minutes.
  • Take out and leave to cool completely before using.
  • *
  • Place one circle onto your cake stand.
  • Cover this with coffee or rum butter cream**.
  • Place the second circle on top.
  • Optional – add a few blobs of butter cream on top to decorate.
  • *
  • ** You can use a lighter cream filling of your choice.

 

 

Coffee set by Royal Doulton  – Pastorale – 1970 – 1990

Jug by Buchan Pottery, Portobello near Edinburgh –  from the early 1960s.

 

Hazelnut Meringue & Apricot Cream

Although I  have been using this recipe for many years I just cannot remember where I got it from.

I make the meringue in a nest shape and fill it with apricot cream when I have many people to eat it in one sitting.

Otherwise I make little meringues with 1 tablespoon of mixture on baking sheets.  These can be stored for ages and served with the apricot cream in individual dishes when required.

Ingredients

  • 4 Egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 75-100g chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • *
  • 1 tin of apricots in syrup
  • Around 200g of yoghurt cheese
  • Around 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar

Method

  • Use the loose base of a baking tin 25cm in diameter.
  • Lightly grease the circle.
  • Cut a 25cm circle of greaseproof and stick it on the metal circle.
  • Place the circle on a large baking tray – one without sides is best.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM1 – 140°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the chopped roasted hazelnuts.
  • Using up to ½ of the mixture cover the circle on the tin.
  • Using the rest of the meringue put spoonfuls around the edge.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside for 20 minutes.
  • Take out and leave to cool completely before filling.
  • *
  • Drain the apricots from the syrup
  • Purée the apricots – a stick blender is good for this.
  • Mix the apricot purée with the yoghurt cheese and some of the icing sugar.
  • Adjust the sweetness with icing sugar – you do not want it too sweet.
  • *
  • Put the meringue nest onto a serving plate or stand.
  • Pile the apricot cream into the centre of the nest.

 

 

Coffee set – Elizabethan – Lace – 1966 – 1982

 

Meringue Cake with Rhubarb

Tort Bezowy is a meringue cake.

Meringues are popular in Poland and often made because lots of other dishes contain many egg yolks so there are egg whites needed to be used rather than wasted.

A little tip – freeze two egg whites at a time in a little container – then you have them ready for use later – bring them back to room temperature first.

The meringue that is used here has the addition of potato or cornflour and a little vinegar which gives a soft marshmallow centre to the meringue.

This style of meringue dish was named in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pawlowa (Pavlova) after her tour of Australia in 1926.

It is made up of 3 parts

  • 1 Pavlova style meringue
  • 2 Budyń (Custard)
  • 3 Rhubarb compote

Pavlova style meringue

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of potato flour or cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Use the loose base of a baking tin 25cm in diameter.
  • Lightly grease the circle.
  • Cut a 25cm circle of greaseproof and stick it on the metal circle.
  • Place the circle on a large baking tray – one without sides is best.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM1 – 140°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the potato or corn flour, the vinegar and vanilla essence.
  • Using up to ½ of the mixture cover the circle on the tin.
  • Using the rest of the meringue put spoonfuls around the edge.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside for 20 minutes.
  • Take out and leave to cool completely before filling.

Budyń  (Custard) 

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 400ml of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Put 250ml of the milk, the butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a saucepan.
  • Heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, stirring all the time.
  • Bring to the boil and then take off the heat.
  • Blend together the rest of the milk (150ml), the egg yolks and the potato or corn starch.
  • Add some of the boiled mixture and stir well.
  • Add this to the rest of the boiled mixture and stir well.
  • Put the pan back on the heat and gently bring back to boiling point and keep stirring.
  • Keep on the heat  – stirring for 1 minute.
  • Pour into a glass or china dish and cover with a circle of grease-proof paper.
  • Leave to go completely cold before using.

Rhubarb Compote

Ingredients

  • 250g fresh rhubarb*
  • 75g granulated sugar

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C
  • Cut the rhubarb into 4cm chunks.
  • Put the cut rhubarb into a small roasting dish.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the top.
  • Cover with a piece of foil.
  • Place in the oven for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to go cold before using.

*You might want to roast more rhubarb for other uses and just use some for this dish.

Assembling the Pavlova

All three parts must be cold.

  • Place the meringue nest on a large serving plate or stand.
  • Using a tablespoon – pile the budyń (custard) into the centre.
  • Arrange the rhubarb chunks and some of the syrup over the custard.

Lead Crystal cake stand  – Tortenplatte – Venus  by Nachtmann(Germany).

Plates – Lavender by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

Grape Meringue Placek

This cake is a cross between my grape meringue cake and placek(flat cake) with rhubarb and meringue. 

There are two parts to this cake

  • Short pastry base – baked and cooled
  • Grapes & Meringue topping.

Short pastry base

The base of this is made made from the recipe for  Ciasto kruche 1 – using raw egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche.  

However as the topping is sweet, I used less sugar in the pastry – you might be able to omit all the sugar – I have not tried this.

Ingredients – Base

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter – chilled
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 4 egg yokes
  • pinch of salt

Method – Base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the yolks and gently mix them in
  • Bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in grease proof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C.
  • Grease and line a 33 x 23 cm baking tin – use one long piece for sides and base – helps to take it out. 
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Ingredients – Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 sponge fingers  – crushed
  • *
  • 300g seedless green grapes

Method – Meringue

  • Preheat the oven to GM 2 -150°C.
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add granulated sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the crushed sponge fingers.
  • *
  • Place 1/3 of the meringue over the cake base.
  • Place the grapes over the meringue.
  • Cover the grapes with the rest of the meringue
  • Put into the oven for 50 – 60 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

Served here on  Royal Doulton – Sonnet  1971-1998

Grape Meringue Cake

This recipe is from Pani Stasia *,  she and my mother were at school together.  She baked wonderful cakes and everyone loved this soft cake with seedless green grapes on the top within a mound of lovely meringue.

Many years ago I jotted down the recipe and now I found it amongst  my many hand written recipes.

I obviously had not written it down very well and in my first attempt, although the topping part worked very well , the bottom cake part was not as I remembered it.  Part of the problem was some of the measurements were in spoons and I think my conversions did not work out that well.  Also I remember that seedless grapes used to be very small, now they seem to be much bigger.

My next attempt was a disaster!  I tried cutting the grapes in half  (bad idea) and I adjusted the base ingredients  – the base did not cook well at all this time – a big gloopy mess – straight to birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of a pair of wood pigeons that come into the garden looking for cast off cake!

I decided to bake the cake base separately and add the topping later – I had a couple of goes and found that a Victoria sponge using two eggs was the best.

Note

This method means you have 4 egg yolks left over (you can use these in many other recipe). The original recipe used the yolks in the base and the whites in the topping – sadly I could not recreate this.

Cake Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon

Method

  • Grease a 22cm loose bottomed tall sided tin.
  • Preheat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs and lemon rind and whisk again.
  • Fold in the plain flour.
  • Place the mixture in the tin and bake for around 25 minutes.
  • Leave to go cold before adding the topping.

Topping Ingredients

  • 225g seedless green grapes
  • *
  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 sponge fingers – crushed

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM2 – 150°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Mix in the crushed sponge fingers
  • Put half of the meringue mixture on top of the cake base.
  • Place the grapes in a layer on top of the meringue.
  • Put the rest of the meringue mixture on top of the grapes and smooth it down.
  • Bake for 1 hour – if not dry enough – lower oven to GM1- 140°C and leave for another 30 minutes.
  • Switch off the oven and leave cake in the oven.
  • Once oven is cold take out the cake and leave to cool in the tin.
  • Do not try to take it out of the tin until it is totally cold.

 

Queen Anne tea plates & Portmeirion – Crazy Daisy cake forks  – Sophie Conran’s design from 2009.

Coffee set and plates – Greenway by Hostess Tableware – design by John Russell, 1960 – 1979.

*

  • Pani  translates as Madam, Lady or Mrs and is a polite form of address – it is like donna in Italian or saying Miss Mary in the Southern States of America.
  • Stasia is the shortened form of the Polish name Stanisława. (The feminine form of Stanisław)
  • St Stanisław is the patron saint  of Kraków & Poland, he was a martyr, murdered by the Polish king Bolesław II the Bold in 1079 – a story which has much in common with St Thomas à Beckett and the English king Henry II  in 1170.

Placek with Rhubarb & Meringue

This cake was inspired by my placek(flat cake) with sour cherries and meringue

There are three parts to this cake:

  • Short pastry base – baked and cooled.
  • Rhubarb filling – cooked and left to go cold.
  • Meringue topping.

Three stages all take a bit of time but well worth the effort. It is delicious with a lovely balance of  sweetness against the tart rhubarb.

Short pastry base

The base of is made with a smaller amount of the recipe for  Ciasto kruche 1 – using raw egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche. 

I could see out of my kitchen window that the rhubarb was beginning to grow.  As I still had one batch left frozen from last summer I to decided to use that up before the new crop and in time for you to try it.

Ingredients – base

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter – chilled
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yokes
  • pinch of salt

Method – base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the yolks and gently mix this in, then and bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C.
  • Grease and line a 23 x 26 cm baking tin.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Ingredients – Rhubarb filling

  • 400g (approx) of rhubarb
  • 150g of granulated sugar (more may be needed)
  • 25g of butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons of potato or corn flour

Method – rhubarb filling

  • This needs to be made ahead of time as it must be cold.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM2
  • Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and place in a baking dish
  • Add sugar.
  • Bake in the oven for around 1 hour – till soft.
  • Check for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary – but not too sweet.
  • Leave to cool a little.
  • *
  • I used cooked rhubarb that I had frozen from last year. 
  • *
  • Wizz the rhubarb up with a blender or chopper to get a purée.
  • Place this in a saucepan.
  • Heat slowly.
  • Mix the yolks with the potato or cornflour and add this to the rhubarb and heat till it thickens.
  • Add the butter and mix in.
  • Leave to go cold before use.

A few thoughts on the origin & history of meringues:

  • Meringue – a French word.
  • Swiss village of Meiringen.
  • Improved by Italian chef Gasparini.
  • From Polish word – marzynka – a day dream?
  • Made by the chef for the exiled king of Poland, Stanisław Leszczyński (1677 – 1766), Duke of Lorraine (1737 -1766).
  • His daughter, Maria, was married to Louis XV of France and she introduced them to the court.
  • In Polish – beza(sing)) bezy(pl) – link to – buzi kiss?
  • French meringue – whisk eggs till stiff – add sugar and whisk again.
  • Italian meringue – uses sugar syrup.
  • Swiss meringue – sugar and whites heated over a water bath.
  • Addition of cornflour – strengthens the egg white.

Meringue

  • I used 4 egg whites & 200g icing sugar.
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add icing sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 1 -140°C.
  • Cover the base with the rhubarb filling and level it out.
  • Cover the rhubarb with the meringue and level it out
  • Put back into the oven for 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

Served here on  Royal Doulton – Counterpoint tea plates 1973 – 1987.