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.
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
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.