Thursday, 7 May 2020

Piglet Strawberry Meringue Cookies

While I have the time to play around with content that is not requested by someone, I thought I better seize it. I had this outrageous idea of creating a mixed genre creation that involves macarons, choux pastry and meringue cookies. This blog post features the meringue cookie part. Presenting my first attempt at character meringue cookies --- strawberry Piglet meringues!

Many thanks to a very talented baker, Kokoma, for the meringue recipe. Do checkout her Instagram account @kokomacake. She shared her meringue recipe and method in video tutorials on her Instagram account. I tweaked it a little to include strawberry flavour and added cornflour because it has been rainy here in Singapore lately. She uses Swiss meringue, which is more stable than French meringue as Swiss meringue uses semi-cooked egg whites. I made meringue mushrooms for a stump cake end of last year using French meringue and you can read about it here.

Important notes on meringue cookies. Do make sure that sugar is completely dissolved in the egg whites before piping it out. Otherwise your meringues won't have a smooth surface and the piped shapes will collapse a little or lose its definition. Always use a temperature of not more than 100°C to dry out the meringues as the meringues will crack if temperature is too high. If you have a dehydrator, you may use it instead of the oven. That was what Kokoma used. I don't have one so I used my oven.

Strawberry Meringue Piglet
Ingredients (makes about 25 Piglets) :
35g egg whites
60g icing sugar (preferably with cornflour already added)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional, to stabilize meringue)
1 tsp cornflour
A pinch of salt (optional)
A little strawberry paste (less than 1/8 tsp)
Pink gel food colouring

1. Prepare a template with 2.5cm circles and place it under parchment paper on the baking tray. Preheat oven to 90-100°C.

2. Combine all ingredients except strawberry paste and food colouring in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of water without the water touching the base of the bowl. Whisk and heat over medium low heat until sugar is all dissolved or temperature reaches 45-50°C. Take your time to heat the egg whites as you want to ensure all sugar is dissolved.

3. Remove bowl from heat and use electric mixer to beat until firm peaks form. Do not beat until stiff and dry. As long as meringue doesn't slide around inside the bowl when you tip it, it is ready. Add a few chopstick dips of strawberry paste into the meringue and gently fold it in. Do not add too much as you don't want too much moisture in the meringue.

4. Add some gel food colouring if the shade of pink is still too light. Portion out about 2tbs of meringue and add more pink colouring for Piglet's ears and nose.

5. Transfer light pink meringue into piping bag fitted with Wilton #12 tip and dark pink meringue into piping bag with a small hole cut at the end. Glue the parchment down to baking tray with a little meringue.

6. Pipe the head, followed by the ears. Change the tip for light pink to Wilton #4 or 5 and pipe the hands. Dap a small dollop of dark pink for the nose. You may use a toothpick to pull the meringue a little to shape the nose or any other part to your liking.

7. Bake for 2-3h or until dry. Store in airtight container if you aren't decorating yet.

Freshly baked! 

8. Make some black edible paint or in my case, I used black royal icing to add on the eyes and eyebrows. Let it dry again in the oven for about 15 min at 90°C. Remember to keep meringues at room temperature in airtight condition to keep them crisp and not sticky.

Wondering where Piglet is supposed to go? See this next blog post!

With love,
Phay Shing