Mimi Thorisson

Family ties: at home in Médoc, the author and mother to Tiger-Mia, Hudson, Louise, Gaïa, Audrey and stepchildren, Gunnhildur, Thorir, makes a habit of sourcing seasonal ingredients from local farmers and neighbouring woods; below, cocoa meringues.

  1. HAVING SWAPPED the bustle of city life for a home in the Médoc countryside, Mimi Thorisson – a Moda Familia favourite – and her photographer husband, Oddur, have created a delightful epicurean wonderland for their family of seven (captured in the couple's best-selling book, A Kitchen In France: A Year Of Cooking In My Farmhouse). Here, in time for Mother's Day, Thorisson's delectable cocoa meringue treats
  1. Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwiches, recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi
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  3. Ingredients:
  4. ¼ cup / 30g confectioners’ sugar
  5. 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  7. 2 tablespoons sugar
  8. ¼ cup / 30g almonds or walnuts, lightly toasted, cooled and very finely chopped
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  10. For the filling:
  11. 2 ounces /57 g bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  12. ¼ cup / 60 ml heavy cream
  13. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

These fall somewhere between traditional meringues and dacquoise, the French meringue made with nut flour. Instead of nut flour, I opt for chopped toasted nuts and end up with a cocoa meringue that’s airy (as it should be) and crunchy (as I always want it to be). While you can certainly make these in the classic kiss shape so popular for meringues, I prefer to pipe the batter into dainty disks and then sandwich them together with a thick layer of creamy dark chocolate ganache. Done this way, the sandwiches might remind you of another member of the meringue family: macarons. If you’re having a party, you can double this recipe.

To make the meringues: centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Trace sixteen 2-inch circles on a piece of parchment paper, flip the paper over and use it to line a baking sheet. It will be your template for piping meringues. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Pour the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or into a large bowl in which you can use a hand mixer. Add the salt and beat the whites on medium speed until they start to turn opaque. Still beating, gradually add the sugar, then turn up the mixer speed to medium high and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.

Add the cocoa mixture to the meringue and, with a flexible spatula, start to fold the cocoa mixture into the meringue. When you’ve added half the mixture in, add the nuts and continue to fold until everything is well incorporated. Take a peek at what’s happening at the bottom of the bowl; if something’s lurking there, fold it in. Spoon half of the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch tip (or use a zipper-lock bag ; seal it and then cut a ½ inch-wide opening from one of the corners) and pipe out circles onto the template. Start in the middle of a circle and work your way out in a spiral. Alternatively, you can spoon out mounds of meringue.
Bake for 90 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn off the oven and let the meringues stay for another hour with the door closed. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. When you’re ready to make the sandwiches, peel the paper from the meringues.

To make the filling: put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream and butter to a boil in a microwave oven or on the stovetop. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and wait for 30 seconds then, using a whisk, begin stirring the ingredients together, starting at the centre of the bowl. Stir in gradually widening concentric circles until you have a dark, smooth, glossy ganache. Set the ganache aside to firm at room temperature – a process that could take 1 hour or more – or quick-chill it: put the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and water and stir the ganache until it firms enough to spread or pipe, 5 to 10 minutes. To assemble the sandwiches: Fit a small pastry bag with an open or closed star tip (or use a snipped zipper-lock bag) and fill it with the ganache. Turn half of the meringues bottom side up and pipe a rosette or spiral of ganache on each. Top each with another meringue, bottom side down, and twist until the ganache glues the sandwich together. Refrigerate until firm.

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Life On The Farm: Mimi's husband, photographer Oddur, captures countryside blooms; right, the couple's daughters at play.

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  2. An exclusive Moda Familia interview with Mimi Thorisson, read it here
  3. Mimi Thorisson's special Sunday family menu, here.
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