I don't quite like meringues - especially the ones we call "suspiro" here in Portugal! - but whenever I crave a custard, I know there will be leftover egg whites and I know my husband will end up making "suspiros" for him and our son.
Sometimes we use them to make "îles flotants", which I'm rather particular to, as they don't turn out hard and crumbly like meringue does. And then sometimes, you envision something in your mind, a way to ensure you will use every bit of everything, and it comes out... well, not quite what you had thought of...
That is precisely what happened with these pots. And I'm so glad they turned out far from what I had thought, as they actually turned out real good!! You see, the idea behind these came about because over Christmas we got a box of danish like cookies, and there's some of them we don't really like. So we had thought about dipping them in coffee, using them as a base, and then on top of them layer chocolate ganache, then lavender custard and finally top it off with lemon curd and a meringue, of the hard variety - a "suspiro".
But as is the case most times, things don't always go as you dream them, and straight away I realized that the lavender custard and the chocolate ganache would not go well together, as they wouldn't allow each other to shine, and the flavours of each individual sweet would be lost. So I decided to just do individual pots, some with the ganache over the cookies, others with the lavender custard, and some of these topped with a little lemon curd. Over each one, there would be a meringue, sitting pretty.
As it happens, those darn meringues did not turn out well, either. Or rather, they turned out reaaaaal well, as far as I am concerned, because they were far from being the hard, crumbly variety, much similar to "iles flotants" than to "suspiros". So what was thought off as a layered dessert came out as a mumbo jumbo of three different types of sweets and let me tell you: much better this way! If you would like to try, then follow these recipes.
For the chocolate ganache you will need:
- 100 gr dark chocolate
- 150 ml cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- a tiny dollop of butter
On a pan bring to the boil about two fingers of water, and then lower the heat making sure it keeps simmering. Place a heatproof bowl over the pan and let the cream come to a simmer. Drop the chocolate into it and let it melt, adding the sugar and the butter at the end, mixing well. Take it off the heat and let it cool.
For the lavender custard you need:
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 375 ml milk
- lavender flowers, dried
As for the meringues all you need is to beat the remaining egg whites with 4 teaspoons of sugar until it forms soft peaks. Use a piping bag - and if you don't have one, you can make one out of a plastic bag that's rather thick, only do not do the same as my husband did and cut a hole that's way too big and gets your meringues looking like, well... this! - and form the meringues on a sheet of baking paper on an oven trey. Place it inside a pre heated oven at 170º for about 10, 15 minutes, or until they turn lightly golden. They should be soft and chewy, not hard and crumbly. As for the lemon curd recipe, you can find it here.
And now all you have to do is assemble the pots. On the bottom of each pot place a couple of sweet biscuits dipped into coffee. Then on some of the pots, place the ganache and top it with one of the soft meringues. Use the custard to fill the rest of the pots that have biscuits on their bottom, and on some of them place a thin layer of lemon curd over the custard and top the whole lot with one meringue. If you happen to have any lemon curd left, and meringues, get yourself a few more pots, and half fill them with lemon curd, placing some meringues on each of them, making sure they're half dipped into the curd. And that's it, really. Pretty satisfying and not that hard to do!!