I’m writing this from my hotel room in London, I spent the week before last hosting an amazing workshop in Barcelona with Carey, Pat, Linda, and Maggie. We ate and shot a ton of Spanish food, visited two beautiful and very different wineries, and had a big traditional Spanish barbecue. It was so, so much fun and I can’t wait to share it with you guys when I get back. After the workshop, Carey and I took a few days in Paris to wander around, relax, and basically just eat a ton of pastries. She left a couple days ago, and then I headed off to London to meet Jeremy, and we’ll have a week together here and then hop back over to Paris, too (if you want to follow along with all of my travel and workshop adventures, you can do so on snapchat at @evakosmasflores.) He’s never been to Paris or London so it’s been really fun seeing him experience all this stuff for the first time. This is also the longest I’ve been away from home in one chunk of time. Three whole weeks! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terribly homesick at this point, I miss our house and the dogs and chickens and my cat and my plants and my bed. But my mom is sending me photos of the dogs doing ridiculous things at my parents’ house, which helps them feel not so far away, and having Jeremy here with me now makes a huge difference. We have an action-packed last week here, though, so I will keep this short and sweet and talk a little bit about this amazing meringue stack!
I wanted to make something with the last of the blood oranges I came across at the supermarket before I left, and I remembered seeing the recipe for this meringue stack over on Izy’s blog and falling in love with it. So, I decided to give it a go here in a repurposed way. I made a blood orange curd for the filling along with a bit of homemade whipped cream, and used California Olive Ranch’s delicate and fruity Arbequina olive oil for it. It adds a subtle richness and silkiness to the curd, and I also drizzled the olive oil over each layer of the meringue stack, too, for an extra bit of brightness. I thinly sliced some blood oranges, sprinkled them with sugar, and broiled them until they turned a bit golden around the edges and the magenta fruit turned incredibly fragrant. When everything was stacked together, I popped it in the freezer for a bit to make it easier to slice (maybe like 1 hour) or you could just slice it at room temp and let it be gloriously messy. The first bite was heaven, the crisp sweetness of meringue, the lightness of whipped cream, the silkiness of the homemade citrus curd, the tang of the broiled blood oranges, and the fruity bite of the rich Arbequina olive oil all combined to create a flavor wonderfully reminiscent of summer at the end of winter, almost like a bit of fresh air to hold you over until the weather warms up again. And I think that as long as I had this meringue stack by my side, I wouldn’t really care what the weather was either way.
For the meringues, preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at medium high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugars in a steady stream while the bowl is mixing, and allow it to continue to mix for several minutes until the meringue turns very smooth and shiny. Turn the mixer off an pinch some of the meringue between your fingers. If you can feel the granular sugar bits, mix it for a minute or two more, if you can’t, it’s ready. Add the vanilla, cardamom, and cinnamon and mix until combined.
Distribute the meringue into 4 roughly 8-inch flat discs, making two on each baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the meringues are still on the outside when lightly tapped with the tip of your finger. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and allow it to cool to room temperature over the period of a couple hours (this will help keep it from cracking as much).
While that’s cooling, you can prepare the curd. In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar for three minutes. Add the blood orange juice, Arbequina olive oil, and blood orange zest and continue whisking the mixture non-stop until the mixture thickens and turns a slightly lighter shade of orange, about 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately take it off of the heat and begin adding the butter to it, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly until each piece has melted before adding the next one. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap directly touches the surface of the curd to keep it from developing a film on top, and place it in the refrigerator.
For the whipped cream, beat the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment at medium high speed until it begins to thicken. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar and vanilla. Continue mixing until it can hold a soft peak. Turn off, cover, and refrigerate.
For the broiled blood orange slices, preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay the slices flat on a sheet of parchment paper on a lipped baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the sugar. Place in the oven and bake until the edges of the oranges are golden and the sugar has melted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
To assemble the meringue stack, place a meringue on the serving plate. Spread about 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture over it, and spread about 1/4 of the curd mixture over that. Place about 1/3 of the broiled blood orange slices over the curd, and drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of the Arbequina olive oil. Repeat this two more times, so that you now have three layers stacked and the third layer has all the goodies on top of it. Place the final fourth meringue on top, and smear it with a dollop of the curd in the center. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the Arbequina olive oil over it, then place the two blood orange wedges on top. You can freeze it for an hour or two to make slicing easier, or just dive right in. Enjoy!