My sister Jamie LOVES meringues and raspberries which is where the inspiration for this Halloween foodie idea came from. I started with this Martha Stewart recipe for inspiration. I saw that some of the reviews were not very happy with the results so I played around and made my own version. I got very, very lucky.
I began with four room temperature egg whites in a very clean and dry stainless steel bowl. I measured out 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar to stabilize the whites.
I started to whip up the egg whites with my Betty Crocker hand mixer and then sprinkled in the cream of tartar.
I kept whisking and whisking away. I made these the day before Jamie arrived. It had been rainy for days but finally cleared. I was worried it still would not be dry enough to make the meringues but started to slowly and carefully add 1 cup of sugar to the egg whites mixture, letting it thicken.
Not exactly stiff peaks! Not even a soft peak. Oh dear…. That was not what I wanted. Was it the weather? Were my egg whites not warm enough? I had no idea…
To help give the meringues a soft gooey center, I added 1 tsp of cornstarch. If you leave this out, the meringues will be incredibly hard. It probably would have been smart for me to leave it out but I just couldn’t.
I also pushed my luck by adding almond extract. If I added vanilla, the colour would change too much. It was still quite thin and soft so I added some icing sugar.
When I realized it just wasn’t going to thicken I added some fun clear sugar sprinkles, to give it a touch of glamour and crunch.
I got a large glass out, filled it with a Ziploc bag and added the very gooey meringue with a large spatula. I cut out a hole in one of the corners to make the bones.
I lined two baking trays with parchment paper that I helped “glue” down with some of the meringue batter. I started the bones by piping a heart at the top, followed by a long strip down and then an upside down heart at the bottom. That’s how I visualized the bones and they kind of looked like them too!
I baked them in a preheated 200F oven for 1 hour. I left them on the tray on a wire rack to cool down (photo on the right). I was convinced they were going to melt and ooze all over the place but… they ended up looking way better than I was expecting!
I wanted to make a raspberry syrup for the “blood” and had some frozen raspberries in my freezer. I cooked around 1 cup of them them down with a little water, strained the liquid and seeds and then added about half a cup of sugar. It refused to thicken up so I added a cornstarch slurry and it was, finally, a sauce I could put into a squeeze bottle once it cooled down.
Delicious! And disturbingly beautiful. We all adored these, especially Jamie. So yummy, not too hard and the almond flavour worked perfectly with the raspberry syrup. Who knew?
This could have easily ended in disaster but I did not give up and they ended up being one of my favourite Halloween treats of the year.