My distaste was not helped by Mum's penchant for making pavlova and trifle - two puddings rife with the aforementioned meringue, jelly and custard - at the same time. Her logic, of course, was that the yolks left over from the meringue could be made into custard for the trifle. That, and the fact that pavlova and trifle are so freaking delicious.
The resourceful ethos behind this pairing now fills me with joy, which is why I wanted to develop a recipe for meringue that puts those sunny, glossy yolks to good use too.
Brown sugar is not often found in meringue, perhaps because caster results in the snowy white peaks that we all associate with this pudding. While my brown sugar versions aren't snowy, I rather like the nutty, caramel hue that you find when you bite into the chewy soft centre. Brown sugar has such a distinct, delicious flavour, which brings something more to the sweetness of a classic meringue.
Clementines are glorious at this time of year, but you could use any other citrus or berry curd to fill your meringues.
2 egg whites
50g caster sugar
50g soft light brown sugar
2 clementines, juiced and zested
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
For the meringue, preheat the oven to 150C, and line a baking tray with parchment. Before you begin, wipe your mixing bowl with a piece of lemon, to ensure that it is squeaky clean. Add the egg whites, then whisk with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Separately, mix the two sugars together, then add a teaspoon at a time to the egg whites, with the mixer still whisking. The mixture is ready when you can pinch it between your fingers and not feel an graininess.
Spoon into four peaks on the baking tray, shape into circles, then bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours. The meringues are ready when you can lift them off the baking tray without sticking.
For the curd, place the zest, juices, egg yolks and sugar together in a large, heavy based pan. Set over a medium heat, and stir constantly as the sugar dissolves. Continue stirring for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens. It is ready when a layer coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and mix in the butter, then strain through a sieve and transfer to a bowl to cool.
Serve the meringues with a dollop of fresh curd on top, and store any that is left in sterilised jars.