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Portuguese Meringues (Suspiros)

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How can I describe a Suspiro?  Well… If you have never had a Suspiro or a meringue before, what I can say is imagine what cotton candy’s opposite would be texture wise while still retaining all the sugar.  It’s almost like a chalky consistency, but far from that in flavor.  And the best part about the home-made ones most especially is that they have a relatively gooey middle.

Suspiros have been part of my life forever.  Every Portuguese market I know of always has these big beautiful sweet treats stocked.  More candy than cookie, these special goodies were only bought every so often in my house, but when they were, we were always happy kids!  Unlike the American version (Meringues) which are only about the size of a half-dollar, Portuguese Suspiros are about the size of a hamburger bun.  They are best eaten slowly with a cup of tea.

In my opinion each and every holiday should include Suspiros, but none more than Easter!  After 40 days of Lenten sacrifice, there is nothing more satisfying that pure sugar! They can be colored, of course, to accommodate any theme (think pink for Princess tea parties or blue for a baby shower) and are a great addition to birthday parties and anything you might want something a little “out of the box” for.   As a major part of making these yummies is drying them out, it is best to make them when it is not too humid out and best stored in an air tight container or zip tight bag.

Preheat your oven to 225°F.

Start by adding about 2″ of water to the bottom on a medium-sized sauce pan. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.

You want to be sure the sauce pan you use is smaller than the bowl of your electric mixer.

You want to be sure the sauce pan you use is smaller than the bowl of your electric mixer.

Separate 4 egg whites into the bowl of your electric mixer. Cold eggs aid in this process.

They won’t look like much in the bowl, but their volume will increase, don’t worry.

Use the egg yolks in a cake recipe or to make lemon curd or just discard.

Measure out 1 1/2 cups of granulated white sugar.

Add directly to the egg whites.

With a hand whisk, incorporate the sugar in with the whites by beating well.

Once the whites and the sugar are beaten to a slightly frothy milky white substance, place the bowl on the sauce pan that you have brought to a simmer. Beat steadily and quickly with your hand whisk for about 3-4 minutes.

You will know the mixture is ready to remove from the heat when it looks like the sugar crystals have melted as you bring the mixture up the side of the bowl as seen here.

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Once sugar crystals appear to have dissolved, place bowl on electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high until mixture has cooled and stiff peaks have formed. This should take about 4-5 minutes.

The mixture is so stiff that when I remove it from the machine and let it rest for transport to the sink, it just stays up right.

Stiff peak.

Ready your supplies. I am using a disposable pastry bag and an extra-large tip. If you don’t have these supplies, you can use a gallon size freezer bag and attach whatever size decorating tip you have, or just use no tip at all. The Suspiros will turn out just fine, they just won’t have the pretty carved look to them.

Prepare the bag by cutting off enough tip to accommodate your tip holder.

This is what you should have once it is all assembled.

I like to start by folding back about an inch from the top. whether using a pastry bag or a gallon size freezer bag, this tip helps to fill without incident.

The tip I am using today is a 1M by Wilton.

Fill the bag.

Unfold that top portion you had originally folded down. Pinch at the top so as not to lose too much mixture.

In a circular motion, pipe the mixture onto the parchment lined pan.

Build as high as you like. I like good hearty Suspiros. These are about 2 1/2″ in diameter.

Once all the Suspiros are built, they are ready for the oven.

Bake at 225°F for one hour without opening the oven door. Once the hour is up, shut off the oven and leave the Suspiros in the oven until completely cool about 1-2 hours more.

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Suspiros (Meringue)

Serves 16

Ingredients.

4 egg whites

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 225°F,

Beat egg whites with sugar by hand for about 30 seconds the bowl of an electric mixer.  Place a sauce pan on the stove with about 2″ of water in it.  Bring water to a simmer.  Place the bowl on the sauce pan and beat constantly.  (This is an important step as it both builds volume and keeps the mixture moving so that the eggs don’t cook.)  After about 3-4 minutes, check that the sugar crystals have mostly dissolved.  Remove from heat and return bowl to the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk mixture for about 4-5 minutes until stiff peaks can be formed.

Place mixture in a piping bag (or gallon size freezer bag) fitted with a star tip (or just with the end cut off).  Pipe a pile of mixture onto a parchment lined sheet pan in 3″ round circles.

Place sheet pans in the oven and bake at 225°F for one hour without opening the oven.  Then turn off the oven and allow Suspiros to cool completely in the oven before removing.  Remove from oven and enjoy!  Be sure to store in an air tight container.

 

3 thoughts on “Portuguese Meringues (Suspiros)

  1. tracey says:

    I have tried to make something similar before and didn’t work out so well. I will try doing it this way. Question: in pic 2 it looks like something may be in the bowl along with the whites. Is this just a reflection or perhaps cream of tartar?

    • Stacy says:

      This method is great! No, sorry just reflection… the only two ingredients needed are egg whites and sugar. I had considered adding in cream of tartar, but ultimately decided it was unnecessary. Have fun!

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