These Chocolate Swirl Meringues taste amazing and you won’t believe how easy they are to make. Only 4 ingredients and minimal effort for crisp perfect chocolate meringues.
Recipe No.3 in my ‘Food from our Honeymoon’ series of posts.
Ok, so it’s no secret that I have a huge sweet tooth. Growing up, meringues were a favourite treat. Ok, so I had lots of favourite treats, but meringues were right up there with the best. I’d see them in the bakery windows, all pink and puffy and covered in sprinkles and I’d have a hard time going past without buying one.
Flash forward to now and I still adore them although I tend to show a little more restraint than I did when I was younger, so I don’t buy them EVERY time I see them 🙂 But today I’m here to tell about what I have now decided is the real deal.
Wandering the twisty, paved alley ways and streets of Venice, you don’t have to go far before you find a “Pasticceria”. A Venetian bakery. AKA a Neverland of amazing Italian baked treats. Selling gorgeous pastries and sweet biscuits, chunks of nougat (and I’m talking huge-slice-of-cake style chunks of nougat) and some totally ethereal looking, totally massive meringues.
Oh Venice ….
Venice is by far my favourite place I’ve ever travelled and I’ve been lucky enough to go there twice. It feels to me like this surreal little, fairy-tale world, within a world, you know, like it’s the town in one of those snow globes, minus the snow. I find the maze-like alleys and streets lined with majestic old-world mansions just mesmerising. It just has such an interesting history and to think that someone thought they could not only build a city on water, but that more people would want to make it home, and now even more people want to experience it.
I always wander the streets and get lost and then realise I’m not lost. It’s still Venice and at the end of the next turn, I’m likely to see the grand canal with all the polished black gondolas floating by and speedboats cruising through to drop off goods or tourists. Or maybe not, maybe I’ll come across a little bridge over a much smaller canal, or a newspaper stall with nothing else around or a quaint little café sitting happily in the shadows of centuries-old buildings. Then while I’m looking into pasticciera windows and fruit and vegetable stalls, I remember that people live here and work here. They buy their veggies here and take them home and cook their dinners in their apartments.
It’s true that there are less and less people living there now (around 50,000 I think at last count) due to tourism making it increasingly expensive to live there but just imagine your front door, opening onto The Grand Canal. To me it’s a beautiful insanity. It shouldn’t work, but it does and it has for hundreds of years. People do live their lives in the floating city, and more people want to travel there. Amazing! Anyway, breaking out of my dream and back to meringues…..
Right, so I have a little exercise for you. Take your hands and make two fists. Put your fists together. That’s the size of Venetian meringues.
They come in all different colours and flavours, with some swirled and some in solid colour. Flavours like pistachio, stawberry, lemon and chocolate are most prominent and they’re all piled high in the pasticceria windows beckoning likely customers to come on in and have a closer look. I bought myself a pink meringue but the photo I took of it doesn’t even do it justice but all I know is it took me two sittings to eat it up.
I knew those meringues would be one of the things I recreated when we got home and here they are in all their crispy glory. Chocolate Swirl Meringues, a little smaller than their Venetian counterparts but every bit as delicious.
Meringues are actually very quick and easy to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to cook and the cool completely before you crunch down on one. These Chocolate Swirl Meringues use all of 4 ingredients. Yep, you heard me – only 4 ingredients. Egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar and chocolate.
To make meringues, the first step is to make sure all your equipment is perfectly clean. Any grease, or crumbs of anything that shouldn’t be there will make it much more difficult to whip the egg whites into a fluffy white foam. Rubbing half a lemon around the inside of the bowl before beating your egg whites will remove any traces of grease and so will a quick rinse with hot water (then dry it out before tipping in your egg whites).
Make sure to carefully separate your eggs, so that no egg shell or yolk end up in your egg white either. From there, it’s as easy as beating the egg whites for about 5 minutes until you have soft peaks, then adding the cream of tartar and the sugar a little at a time until you have stiff, white, glossy peaks. Cream of tartar is a stabiliser, so it helps to make sure the meringues beat up properly and helps the crispy texture at the end. Easy.
They are finished by pouring melted chocolate over the beaten egg whites which you carefully fold through just once or twice. Then use a large ice cream scoop to scoop out balls of meringue and release them gently on to baking sheets. I bake them for 1 hour and this leaves them just a little soft on the inside. I like that tiny bit of gooey, marshmallow centre but if you want them totally crispy just cook them for an extra 15 minutes.
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- 3 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¾ cup (150g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 75 g dark - (50%) chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- Preheat oven to 140C / 120C fan forced / 285F. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
- Sift over the cream of tartar and beat through. Now add the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the egg whites are thick and glossy and at stiff peak stage. Once all the sugar is incorporated, test the mixture by rubbing a little between your finger and thumb. It should be smooth. If it is still grainy, keep beating until it is smooth when you test it.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the top and just fold through carefully twice. No more, otherwise you'll end up with brown meringues and less of a swirl.
- Now use a large icecream scoop, to take large scoops of the meringue mixture and carefully release them onto the cookie trays. Keep them spaced far apart as they will puff up while cooking.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour (see notes). Remove from oven, gently peel away from the baking paper and let them cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.
- 1 hour baking time allows for just a little softness in the centre. If you want you meringues totally crisp, continue to cook them for another 15-20 minutes.