Pastry chefs traditionally love using meringue when creating their delicate sweet bakes. In the Cape Winelands, meringues are often used as the sweet and airy ingredient in Macaroons and Floating Islands and has become a part of our culinary heritage. The art of making meringue probably came to the Cape with the French Huguenots, as did our wine culture and ultimately the art of making bottle fermented sparkling wine in the style of French champagne.
La Motte is very proud of its French Huguenot heritage and it is therefore quite fitting to introduce a combination of meringue and sparkling wine – made in the traditional French way – during this weekend’s annual Cap Classique and Champagne festival!
Join winemaker Michael Langenhoven and the passionate La Motte team for a tasting of the award-winning 2012 La Motte Méthode Cap Classique and enjoy it with one of Pierneef à La Motte‘s hazelnut-flavoured merinques. Chef Vicky Gurowich from the pastry kitchen on La Motte explains that the hazelnut flavour is a classic combination with the Brut-style sparkling wine. While complementing the yeasty character and creamy biscuity undertones of the wine, the meringue’s soft chewiness also balances the crisp bubbles of the estate’s current vintage.
If you are unable to make it to this weekend’s festivities in Franschhoek, why not try this delicious recipe for Iced Meringue from the Cape Winelands Cuisine cookbook and spoil your loved ones with a delightful dessert and Cap Classique combination? The toasted nuts, airy meringue and cold creaminess of the dessert will be an exceptional partner to the 2012 La Motte Méthode Cap Classique!
(Come to think of it, if you are already planning that all important Christmas menu, the Iced Meringue will also make for a beautiful dessert on the festive table!)
Meringues were probably brought to the Cape by the French Huguenots, along with the traditional French dessert ouefs à la neige (eggs in show, or floating islands), which dates from 1653 and is still made today. This recipe for iced meringue is a modern version of an old Cape recipe.
½ cup (125 ml) Sugar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) water
¼ cup (60 ml) toasted almonds
¼ cup (60 ml) toasted hazelnuts
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook until the sugar turns a light caramel colour – do not stir it while cooking, as the sugar will crystallise.
Scatter the nuts onto non-stick baking paper and pour the caramel over. Leave to cool and harden. Chop the praline finely and reserve in an airtight container.
6 egg whites
1 cup (250ml) sugar
1½ cups (375 ml) fresh cream
Wisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form, then slowly start adding the sugar while whisking until all the sugar is incorporated. It should be a shiny, firm meringue.
Fold the chopped praline into the meringue.
Whip the cream to stiff peaks, and then fold it into the mixture. Scoop into 10 cups or moulds and freeze for 12 hours.
Serve with a bitter chocolate ice cream.