Fairy chimneys

Fairy chimneys

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

I created these crazy-shaped meringues as a reminder of the rocky, wild Cappadocian landscape, with its twisted pillars, cones and knobbed turrets that are nicknamed ‘fairy chimneys’. You’ll need a piping bag to make these meringues, but only basic piping skills. You’re not aiming for perfection here; in a way, the wilder they look, the better!

The addition of cornflour makes the meringues slightly soft and marshmallowy inside. The idea is to make a tall base pillar and to top it with a broader, domed meringue. If you make it large enough, the base pillar can be filled with cream. Otherwise, serve a big bowl of cream on the side so that everyone can help themselves. These meringues make a wonderful dessert, served with Fresh summer fruits in a lime syrup.


Quantity Ingredient
5 free-range egg whites
200g caster sugar
200g icing sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
400ml cream
caster sugar, additional, (optional)
vanilla extract, (optional)
2 tablespoons pure icing sugar, sieved with 3 tablespoons finely ground pistachio slivers


  1. Preheat the oven to 120ºC. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Put the egg whites and a few tablespoons of the caster sugar into the scrupulously clean bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk on a low speed until the mixture begins to foam, then increase the speed to high and whisk until the foam thickens to form smooth, soft glossy peaks. Sift on the remaining caster sugar a little at a time, whisking to firm peaks as you go. Finally, sift on the icing sugar and cornflour and whisk in briefly until incorporated.
  2. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a smallish nozzle and pipe ten pillars, each about 4 cm in diameter and 5 cm high. Refill the bag and pipe the ten tops: make them a bit shorter, and slightly broader in diameter than the bases and coming to a peak at the top.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the meringues are ivory-coloured and crisp. Leave to cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes before carefully lifting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. When ready to serve, whip the cream, sweetening it with a little sugar and flavouring it with a drop or two of vanilla extract if you like — or add your own flavourings. Fill the pillars with the cream and sit the peaked domes on top, using a little of the cream to secure them, if necessary. Otherwise, serve the cream alongside. Either way, spinkle with the ground pistachio mixture and serve straight away as a tea-time treat, or with fruit salad as a dessert.
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