Shichimi togarashi, also called seven-spice blend, is a culinary gift from Japan, a remarkable blend of chili pepper and spices that manages to be hot, sweet, salty, bitter, nutty and packed with umami. While the blend — and the level of heat — varies from maker to maker, the brand that I often use (S&B) includes chili pepper, dried orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and dried seaweed. because I don’t know your blend and because, as is true of just about every spice, togarashi is most potent when it’s fresh, I’d suggest you make your first batch of meringues with just 1 teaspoon and then see where you want to go after that.
Whether you make them super-hot or mild, you’ll want to chase the meringues with beer.
This is excerpted from Dorie’s Cookies, by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2016 Dorie Greenspan. Reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- 2 T + 1 t sugar
- 1 t cornstarch
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 t cream of tartar
- 1/4 t fine sea salt
- 1 t shichimi togarashi (or more to taste)
Center a rack in the oven and heat it to 250° F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (I prefer silicone for these). If you’d like to pipe out the meringues (I think piping works best), have a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch tip or a plastic zipper-lock bag at hand; if not, use a teaspoon.
Push 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the cornstarch through a strainer into a small bowl and stir to blend.
Put the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl in which you can use a hand mixer. Add the cream of tartar—if it’s lumpy, push it through the strainer into the bowl—and the salt and beat on high speed until the whites turn opaque and just start to hold their shape. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, just a little at a time, whipping until you have firm, glossy whites that hold peaks. Beat in the togarashi. If using a stand mixer, remove the bowl. Sprinkle the sugar-cornstarch mixture over the whites and, working with a flexible spatula, fold it in gently, quickly and thoroughly. If you’re using a pastry or plastic bag, fill it with the meringue; snip off a corner of the plastic bag.
Pipe or spoon quarter-size dabs of meringue onto the baking sheet, leaving an inch or so of space between them.
Bake for 45 minutes without opening the oven. Turn off the oven and prop the door partly open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Leave the meringues in the oven to dry for about 1 1/2 hours, until (this is the important test) you can peel them off the silicone or paper; they should not be sticky. Let the meringues cool.
Kept in a tin or other container—don’t store these in plastic bags or wrap—away from humidity, the meringues will keep for up to 3 days. (They may keep for longer, but they’re so susceptible to moisture that it’s hard to say.)