Mushrooms: Line two baking sheets with
parchment paper. Have two pastry bags ready (one for
the caps and stems and one for gluing them together). Fit one small pastry
bag with a number 3 (1/16 inch diameter) (.2 cm) round plain tip (used to glue
the stems and caps together) and one large pastry bag with a number 6 (1/2 inch
diameter) (1 1/4 cm) round plain tip (for stems and caps). Fold down the
tops of the bags to form a deep cuff on the outside and place each bag in a tall
narrow glass for support. This will make it easy to transfer the meringue
to the pastry bags.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
(100 degrees C) and place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the
In bowl of electric mixer, at
moderately slow speed, beat the room temperature egg whites until foamy.
Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.
Continue beating (increasing speed to high), gradually adding the superfine
sugar, until the whites are very stiff and glossy. (You want to make sure
that the sugar has dissolved completely - to test rub a little of the meringue
between your fingers.)
With a rubber spatula place
approximately 1/4 cup of the meringue in the pastry bag with the small tip (used
to glue the caps and stems together). Place the remainder of the meringue
in the large pastry bag.
Pipe Caps: Holding the pastry bag upright
and close to the parchment paper, pipe the meringue with even pressure, into
even rounds building up the meringue to form a 2 inch (5 cm)
round that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) high. Sharply twist the
bag and stop the pressure as you slowly move the tip off the meringue. Try
to make the top as smooth as possible but use a wet fingertip to smooth out any
Pipe Stems: Holding the pastry bag upright
and close to the parchment paper, pipe the meringue with even pressure, into a
cone-shape, making the base of the stem a little larger than the top. The
stem should be about 1 inch (2.54 cm) high. Try to keep the stems as
straight as possible. Some of the stems may fall over on their sides
during baking, so it is a good idea to make extra.
Bake the meringues for
approximately one hour, or until the mushrooms are firm enough that they can be
lifted from the baking sheet without sticking. Rotate the baking sheets
from top to bottom and front to back (about three quarters of the way through)
to ensure even baking.
Remove from oven and with a
small sharp knife, make a small hole in the middle of the underside of each
mushroom cap. Using the small pastry bag fitted with the 1/l6 inch tip,
pipe a little bit of meringue in the hole and gently press the top of the stem
into the hole.
Place the mushrooms, caps down,
on a parchment lined baking sheet and return to oven for about 15 - 30 minutes, or
until the mushroom are dry. Remove from oven and lightly
dust the tops of
the mushrooms with cocoa powder. Use a small pastry or paint brush to
smudge the cocoa powder, if desired.
Store in an airtight container
for several weeks.
Makes about 24 - 30 mushrooms
(depending on size)
Heatter, Maida. Maida Heatter 's
Book of Great Chocolate Desserts. Alfred A Knopf. New York: 1984.