In this week’s episode of Ludo à la Maison, we learn how to make “ugly but good” meringue.
In this week’s Ludo à la Maison, chef Ludo Lefebvre remembers his goûter, an afternoon snack he would grab every day on the way home from school when he was growing up in France. There were fond memories of big hazelnut meringues from the pâtisserie, crispy and moist. He hates making meringue the classic way, baking it low and slow for six hours, so in this episode, he shows viewers a shortcut. Called Brutti ma Buoni (or “ugly but good”), this Italian-style meringue only needs to bake for about an hour, and still comes out with that crisp outside and moist inside. He goes with hazelnuts for this particular meringue, since he’s “obsessed” with them, as well as almonds, because “we’re in California and we have a lot of almonds.” That tracks.
Check out some of the main tips we gathered from the episode below, and watch the full video above.
Make it from scratch
Lefebvre recommends buying the hazelnuts and almonds, roasting them, and grinding them up at home to make your own flour. If you opt to buy it instead, the flavors will be different, since the flour would have been ground up a long time ago before being sold.
Play around with different nuts
You don’t have to stick to the hazelnut and almond combination—you could also do just almonds, or even walnuts. As Lefebvre notes, “cooking is not just a recipe.”
Whether you’re crushing the nuts in a food processor or a mixer like Lefebvre's, make sure you don’t over-mix them. Otherwise, they’ll end up as a paste, and you want some bigger pieces in your meringues so there’s a nice crunch to them.
You don’t have to mix by hand
When you have to whip the egg whites and slowly add in the sugar for the meringue base, Lefebvre says you can mix by hand, but it would take “forever.” In the spirit of quick meringue, a stand-mixer seems like the best bet.
You’ll know your meringue is perfectly whipped when you see stiff peaks form, and you flip the bowl upside-down and it stays put.
Stick with an hour
Lefebvre says to bake at 300 for “a good hour” for the best results; while you can up the temperature to 350 and cut cooking time in half, he says the meringues will get more of a brown color.
As he says at the end of the video, this wasn’t that hard to make–so don’t be intimidated by meringue!