Saturday, February 4, 2012


I know everyone is into meringue the past few years. But I have been trying to perfect them for at least 30 years. By perfect, I don't mean your standard French or Italian meringue. I mean those my Auntie Fanny made. YES, I had an Auntie Fanny. My grandfather's sister, from Kastoria in Northern Greece, who spoke Spanish as her first language. Sephardic. I saw her last maybe in 1972 or 3. She made these when I was still very small. And I've been trying to do it ever since then. Seriously. And on a completely random whim, after using a ton of egg yolks, there were all these whites. And I think I've finally figured it out: almond extract! Here's how. Whip egg whites by hand with a jot of cream of tartar. Tiny pour of vanilla and almond extracts. Add powdered sugar, about a cup per three whites. Beat until stiffer than the devil. Drop onto paper bags torn up, I remember this detail. Bake for about 4 or 5 hours at 200 degrees. Let cool. For me they evoke her apartment in NY, that was very high up with a window open and I remember her worrying that I would fall out. I'd never been so high up in my life. Except for right now.


Anonymous said...

Uncle Jack will be so excited to get this. I remember Aunt Fannies soplados. She use to bring them to Julias house.

Mariana Kavroulaki said...

Meringues or beze cookies (probably one more familiar name for Greeks) were a favorite dessert among the urban Greek middle and upper classes until the late 1980s. And they are definitely one of food memories that stand out from my childhood.

Ken Albala said...

Mariana, Really? That's surprising, because they were very much out of fashion here, until recently. Now they're everywhere, in silly pastel colors, but not as good as these. They have to be perfectly dry and crunchy, but not taste like chalk.

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That's amazing, because they were very much out of style here, until lately. Now they're everywhere, in foolish light shades, but not as excellent as these. They have to be completely dry and crispy, but not flavor like chalk
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