When I was a child one of the greatest treats that we would get was a tin of Hadji Bej Turkish Delight. Despite the Armenian origins the makers of Hadji Bej were firmly adopted by the people of Cork and their Turkish Delight was part of growing up in Cork.
Anyway, the taste was actually quite 'adult' and unusual and it wasn't until quite recently I discovered that the flavour came from Rose Water. So when I came across a recipe for meringues flavoured with Rose Water and pistachios I just had to give it a go. The ingredients are straight forward - the technique a bit different and the result is extraordinary.
Ingredients : 10 egg whites
600g sugar (should be caster but ordinary is ok too)
3 tsp Rose Water
75g Chopped Pistachios (weight after shelling)
Pre-heat oven to 200'C. Warm sugar on a baking tray in oven until edges start to go slightly brown. Turn oven down to 110'
Beat the egg whites in a mixer on fast for about a minute and gradually add the sugar and the rose water. Beat on fast for about 10 minutes until the mixture looks like a silky Jedward !
Put the chopped nuts on a flat plate and roll one half of a tennis ball size of egg mix in the nuts. Put on a baking tray. Make sure they have space as they will expand a good bit.
I used two serving spoons to portion them and although I tried to make them roughly spherical it didn't quite work - but I like the 'curly' effect that transpired. Then bake for 2 hours at 110'C. Don't be tempted to open the oven to check on them - the cold will destroy them.
The result was really top class, brittle on the outside with a creamy almost chewy centre. And the rose water brought me right back to the Hadji Bej of my youth. A great result.