2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
For Cream and Topping:
2 teaspoons regular granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
A pastry bag fitted with 1/3-inch plain tip
An electric coffee/spice grinder
To Make Meringues:
Preheat oven to 175°F (80°C).
Beat egg whites with salt using an electric mixer at high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Add superfine sugar a little at a time, beating at high speed, and continue to beat until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.
Spoon meringue into pastry bag and pipe 1 1/4-inch-wide disks (about 1/3 inch high) about 1/2 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake meringues in middle of oven until dry but still white, about 1 1/2 hours, then cool in turned-off oven (with door closed) 1 hour. Transfer meringues on baking sheet to a rack to cool completely.
Whip Cream and Assemble Petits Fours:
Finely grind regular sugar with anise in coffee/spice grinder. Beat cream in a bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks, then add anise sugar, beating until it just holds stiff peaks.
Peel meringues from parchment, then dollop 1 teaspoon cream onto each meringue and top with 3 pomegranate seeds.
Baked meringues (without cream) and anise sugar can be made 1 week ahead and kept separately in airtight containers at room temperature. Meringues can be topped 30 minutes ahead and kept at cool room temperature.
Makes about 48 meringues.
Source: Gourmet Magazine-December 2002
Date: October 8, 2003