“ Brand: Asda / Type: Other Desserts „
On a recent trip to Asda, purely on impulse I picked up a box of 8 meringue nests. They are on offer at the moment at two boxes for £1.50, usually £1 per box, but I thought that buying two boxes would be a bit decadent, and I couldn't justify the extra 50p, so I gently laid one box in my trolley and headed in the direction of the strawberries and the cream - I was in for an indulgent evening!
The meringues come in a lilac box with an appetising picture on three of the sides of a meringue with cream and red fruits. The other information on the packaging tells you that this product is suitable for vegetarians, the best before date (about ten months from now), meal ideas, ingredients, allergy advice, nutritional values, storage, and a guarantee of a refund or replacement if you are not 100% happy. Nutritionally, each meringue contains 52 calories which isn't all that bad, but they are 93.6% sugar, so if you ate too many of these at one time, you are likely to end up a bit hyperactive!
The meringues nests are neatly stacked up in a plastic tray inside the box and I was pleased to see that none of the delicate meringues had been broken in transit. However, I was disappointed to see that these off white meringue nests are much more like meringue trays! It looks like they were made by spreading out a thin layer of meringue, then only one layer of the mix has been piped around the top, so the "nest" bit is only about 1cm deep, and has a 4cm diameter. Even I couldn't manage to indulge myself by putting too much filling in these!
I prefer my meringue to be a bit gooey in the middle, but because these are so thin there is not a hint of stickiness. They are very firm they and snap rather than crumble when you put your fork into them, probably because not enough air was put into the mixture in the early stages. They dissolve, rather than melt in your mouth, and the only taste that I can think of that adequately describes them is candy floss, which I guess makes sense as the two are made from practically all sugar.
These smell of pure icing sugar and taste really artificial compared to homemade meringues and the fact that I have had the open box in a cupboard for a few weeks now, and these have not gone soggy at all makes me a bit suspicious about what has gone into them to keep them fresh!
I tried to put a filling in these, but it simply didn't work and I got into a bit of a mess: it was like trying to balance soup on a cracker - not easy! Because of their shape and consistency my only decent suggestion for these would be to cut them up, get rid of the excess dust and use any lumps that you have left over in an Eton mess (Strawberries, cream, sieved strawberry sauce and meringue all mixed up into a bowl) for a delicious and simple dessert.
I don't think that you can take shortcuts by buying readymade if you want to enjoy a really good meringue. I know that it can be fiddly and messy, but homemade is always going to be the best option.