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Meringue Mushrooms Recipe

Meringue Mushrooms: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Have two pastry bags ready (one for piping the caps and stems and one for gluing them together).  Fit one small pastry bag with a number 3 (1/16 inch diameter) (.2 cm) round plain tip (used to glue the stems and caps together) and one large pastry bag with a number 6 (1/2 inch diameter) (1 1/4 cm) round plain tip (for stems and caps).  Fold down the tops of the bags to form a deep cuff on the outside and place each bag in a tall narrow glass for support.  This will make it easy to transfer the meringue to the pastry bags.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (100 degrees C) and place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

In bowl of electric mixer, at moderately slow speed, beat the room temperature egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Continue beating (increasing speed to high), gradually adding the superfine sugar, until the whites are very stiff and glossy.  (You want to make sure that the sugar has dissolved completely - to test rub a little of the meringue between your fingers.  If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.)

With a rubber spatula place approximately 1/4 cup of the meringue in the pastry bag with the small tip (used to glue the caps and stems together).  Place the remainder of the meringue in the large pastry bag.

To Pipe Caps: Holding the pastry bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe the meringue with even pressure, into even rounds building up the meringue to form a 2 inch (5 cm) round that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) high.  Sharply twist the bag and stop the pressure as you slowly move the tip off the meringue.  Try to make the top as smooth as possible but use a wet fingertip to smooth out any bumps.

To Pipe Stems: Holding the pastry bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe the meringue with even pressure, into a cone-shape, making the base of the stem a little larger than the top.  The stem should be about 1 inch (2.54 cm) high.  Try to keep the stems as straight as possible.  Some of the stems may fall over on their sides during baking, so it is a good idea to make extra.

Bake the meringues for approximately one hour, or until the mushrooms are firm enough that they can be lifted from the baking sheet without sticking.  Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back (about three quarters of the way through) to ensure even baking.

Remove from oven and with a small sharp knife, make a small hole in the middle of the underside of each mushroom cap.  Using the small pastry bag fitted with the 1/l6 inch tip, pipe a little bit of meringue in the hole and gently press the top of the stem into the hole.

Place the mushrooms, caps down, on a parchment lined baking sheet and return to oven for about 15 - 30 minutes, or until the mushroom are dry.  Remove from oven and lightly dust the tops of the mushrooms with cocoa powder.  Use a small pastry or paint brush to smudge the cocoa powder, if desired.

Store in an airtight container for several weeks.

Makes about 24 - 30 mushrooms (depending on size)

Meringue Mushrooms Recipe

Meringue Mushrooms:

2 large (60 grams or 2 ounces)  egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup (100 grams) superfine (caster) white sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar simply take granulated white sugar and process it for about 30 seconds in a food processor).

Note: Can use melted chocolate to "glue" the caps and stems together.  Simply melt a little chocolate and, with a small spatula or spoon, spread a thin layer of chocolate over the underside of the cap.  Attach the stem and leave the mushroom (upside down) until the chocolate hardens.