Not all commercial mascarpone cheese is born equal – this filling requires a soft, smooth, pale one (some brands are decidedly thick and yellow). You can just as easily use whipped thickened cream to sandwich these delicate meringues together – sweeten to taste with sifted icing sugar and stir in the coconut at the end. If you want to make more of a “green” statement, add a little green food coloring to the meringue mix before you shape it.
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ⅓ tsp cream of tartar
- 160 g caster sugar
- 1½ tbsp matcha powder, sifted
- 250 g (1 cup) mascarpone
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 40 g (⅓ cup) icing sugar, sifted
- 30 g (⅓ cup) desiccated coconut
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl then, using electric beaters, whisk until soft peaks form. Whisking continuously, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy and firm peaks form. Add the matcha powder and whisk until combined well and the meringue is uniformly pale green.
Using a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized plain nozzle, pipe 4 cm rounds of meringue into the prepared trays, leaving room between each one for slight spreading. (Alternatively, pile tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the trays).
Bake the meringues for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until they are crisp and dry. Turn off the oven then leave the meringues to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Remove to a wire rack.
Meanwhile, for the filling, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth and thick enough to spread. Place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture on the base of a meringue then add another meringue to join. Repeat until all the meringues and filling mixture are used then serve immediately.
Unfilled meringues will keep in an airtight container for several weeks. Once filled, they should be eaten as soon as possible.
• Matcha powder comes in a variety of grades; the more expensive ones are made using earlier picked leaves and the flavour is more delicate. Cheaper matcha is made using mature leaves and the taste is more astringent. “Kitchen” or “culinary” grade matcha (it’s usually labelled as such) tends to be slightly lower grade, but feel free to experiment to find the matcha for cooking you most like the taste of. Matcha is available from Japanese or more general Asian grocery stores.
Photography by Leanne Kitchen. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Dixie Elliott.