I posted this recipe a year or so ago but I will re-post it as it is such a great dessert. After the Ottolenghi meatballs two nights ago, I served this dessert.
Meringues are a great way to use up eggs and are better made when the eggs aren't too fresh. My eggs were two days past their sell by date so perfect for making meringues. These meringues have a gorgeous subtle vanilla flavour. They can be stored in an airtight container and you can indulge yourself when you get a sugar craving! The recipe states peaches but I used nectarines this time and they were divine.
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
2 vanilla beans, split
1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
6 peaches (or nectarines), stones removed, cut in half
250ml sweet dessert wine
3 tbsp. raw caster sugar
300ml crème fraiche or thick double cream
Method — Vanilla Meringues
Preheat oven to 110°C (225°F). Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in half the sugar until very shiny then add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Scrape out the seeds from one vanilla bean and stir them into the egg whites along with the vanilla extract.
Scoop the mixture onto the baking trays to form 10-12 rounds. Bake for 1 and a half hours or until crisp and golden. Turn off oven, open door slightly and leave the meringues until cool enough to handle. Peel them off the baking paper and put on a rack to cool.
Method — Baked peaches or nectarines
Turn oven up to 210°C (415°F). Put the nectarines, cut side up in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour over the wine and sprinkle with the raw caster sugar. Cut the remaining vanilla bean into thirds and add to the baking dish (I also add the other vanilla pod that you scraped out for the meringues but you may want to add that to a jar of sugar, as I also do, to create vanilla sugar). Bake for 30 minutes or more - until fruit are soft and slightly caramelised on top (I find I need to bake longer than 30 minutes). Remove from oven and cool.
Serve fruit and meringues with a dollop of crème fraiche or cream. I also like Greek yoghurt. Garnish with the vanilla bean pieces.