Lightly browned, crunchy on the outside and a bit chewy on the inside, these meringues are terrific on their own. But sandwiching pineapple buttercream between them takes them to another level.
Make Ahead: The meringues can be made a day or two in advance and stored in an airtight container. The buttercream can be refrigerated up to 2 days ahead, or it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Servings: 32 sandwiches
- For the meringues
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- For the buttercream
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons dark rum or rum flavoring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Milk (optional)
For the meringues: Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 225 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the clean bowl of a hand-held or stand mixer. Beat on high speed for 1 minute, until the whites are frothy, then reduce the speed to medium and add the confectioners' sugar by tablespoonfuls, beating for several seconds between additions so the confectioners' sugar is completely incorporated; stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. The meringue mixture should be smooth and satiny.
Increase the speed to high; slowly add the granulated sugar to the meringue mixture. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
Spoon the meringue into a large pastry bag outfitted with a 1/2-inch-wide plain, round tip (or into a large resealable plastic food storage bag with a bottom corner snipped off). Pipe a total of 4 rows of 8 round meringues on each baking sheet -- they should be a generous inch in diameter -- spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart. To pipe each meringue, start on the outside edge of each circle and pipe in a spiral toward the center, ending with a small, swirled peak in the center.
Bake for 75 minutes, rotating the baking sheets and switching racks halfway through. The meringues should be lightly golden. Turn off the oven, then open the oven door and leave it ajar by inserting the handle of a wooden spoon between the door and the oven. Leave the meringues in the oven until they have cooled completely. They should come off the baking sheets easily.
While the meringues are cooling, prepare the buttercream: Combine the pineapple and brown sugar in a nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fruit's juice evaporates and the mixture becomes quite dark. Use a wooden spoon to stir the pineapple often, breaking up any large pieces of pineapple as it cooks. Transfer the caramelized pineapple to a bowl and cool completely.
Place the butter in the bowl of a hand-held or stand mixer and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until creamy. Add the salt, then add the confectioners' sugar a cup at a time, beating after each addition to completely incorporate the sugar; stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the caramelized pineapple, the rum or rum flavoring and the vanilla extract; beat on low speed for 1 minute to thoroughly incorporate. If the icing seems too stiff, add enough milk to achieve a creamy consistency. The yield is about 2 1/2 cups.
To assemble the sandwiches, pipe or spoon 2 teaspoons of buttercream on the flat side of one meringue kiss, then create a sandwich by topping with the flat side of a second meringue kiss. There will be about a cup of buttercream left over. Freeze it for later use; it's great on cupcakes.
From Sourced columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.