In my previous post, I included a photo of famous muralist Diego Rivera’s “Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central” – “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Central Promenade”:
The mural is an amalgamation of historical figures and fictional characters, such as José Guadalupe Posada, at the centre, in a dark suit, arm in arm with his “Catrina”, dressed in white. Breaking other boundaries of reality, this painting also includes many figures purposely depicted at a smaller scale, representing the inequality for working class, disadvantaged groups; seen in a detail of the mural, right, a tiny dark-skinned paper man, and likewise, a barefoot vendor in rough clothes and straw hat, carrying a wooden tray with pink meringue sweets:
Meringues are desserts prepared by adding sugar and flavourings to perfectly fluffy, beaten egg whites, baked until they develop a crust. Some meringues have a soft interior, such as pavlovas, while others are dry throughout. I have published a recipe for suspiritos, an example of the latter, often given as favours at weddings and showers. The pink meringues depicted in the wooden tray by Rivera are still sold pretty much in the same manner in Mexico City, although of course the vendors, called merengueros, are not barefoot, and their clothes are just regular, as seen in the photo below; the wooden tray includes the traditional gaznates (cylinders of fried pastry filled with meringue paste), and pink round meringues:
The round pink meringues are similar to pavlovas, dry on the outside and creamy and soft inside, as pictured at the top of this post, and prepared as follows:
Street Food Meringues – Merengues
Ingredients (for approximately 18 pieces)
4 eggs (only whites needed for this recipe); at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar; optional
1 tsp vanilla
2 drops red food colouring
1 cup granulated sugar
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Separate egg whites making sure that yolks do not break, to avoid any contamination (reserve yolks for another use); place egg whites in a clean and dry mixing bowl, and add cream of tartar, if using (photo below, left). Whisk vigorously, preferably with an electric mixer, until white and foamy, then add vanilla (photo below, right):
Continue whisking while adding food colouring, and then gradually, the sugar (photo below, left). Continue beating until the mix is glossy and firm (photo below, right):
Transfer some mix to a pastry bag, fitted with a large round nozzle (photo below, left). An alternative is to fill a strong plastic storage bag and cut an opening at one corner, about 1/3 in (8 mm) wide. Start piping onto prepared baking sheets, holding the bag almost vertically, and pressing for a constant flow, forming a circle of approximately 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter, then filling towards the centre in a spiral (photo below, right):
Continue piping, refilling the pastry bag, until all the mix is used (makes about 18 pieces).
Place baking sheets in oven pre-heated to 180ºF (82ºC). Bake for 40 minutes, or until the meringue looks dry outside. Turn off the oven, and allow to rest inside for one to two hours. Take trays out of the oven; the meringues should look completely dry, but not browned:
These merengues are ready to be piled up, just as a merenguero would do:
Enjoy on their own as a snack for a gratifying bite of crisp, and then creamy, textures, or as a dessert with fruit, or even a scoop of ice cream. They may be stored in an air-tight container for a couple of days, but they are at their best when eaten fresh.
Stay tuned for my recipe for gaznates, in my next post.
I used my old Sunbeam/Oster™ stand mixer for this post, but my mother in-law just handed me down her Cuisinart™ SM-55 5-1/2-Quart 12-Speed Stand Mixer (as seen below), so I am looking forward to trying this and other recipes with it. For your convenience, click on the highlighted text below for products available on Amazon™. DISCLAIMER: Any reviews included in this post are my own, for items I have purchased, not provided by any company; as an Amazon Associates Program affiliate, I might receive a commission for any purchases originated from the links below, at no extra cost to you. Thank you to readers who have bought other products starting with a click from my links!
I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #566, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.