Two of my granddaughters won first prize for these orange flavoured meringues at a Palm Oil Free Baking Competition held at the Auckland zoo.They are mouthwatering treats with delicate crisp shells and chewy chocolaty centers.
For Meringues3 egg whites
1 cup castor sugar
A few drops of yellow and red food colouring
1 tablespoon of malt vinegar
1 teaspoon of corn flour
1 teaspoon cocoa
100 gm of Whittaker’s milk chocolate
3 tablespoons of cream.
½ teaspoon of orange essence
1. Beat egg whites till the soft peak stage
2. Beat in castor sugar slowly, one teaspoon at a time till thick and glossy. This should take about 10 minutes.
3. Beat in food colouring, vinegar corn flour and cocoa.
5. Put lots of heaped teaspoons of the meringue mixture (for the child meringutans) and fewer heaped tablespoons of the mixture (for the adult meringutans) on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
4. Bake in low oven 110-120 degrees C for about 45 minutes until the meringues are crisp and dry.
5. While they are baking melt the chocolate and then stir in 3 tablespoons of cream and ½ teaspoon of orange essence to make the chocolate ganache.
6. When cold fill with chocolate ganache mixture and arrange on plates in meringutan families.
A sorry tale is rapidly unfolding in Borneo as the rainforest is being chopped down to make way for palm oil plantations. Unless this is halted orangutans will shortly become the first of the great apes to be extinct.
At the heart of the problem is the growing demand for palm oil. Palm oil is made from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. It is widely used in foods, cosmetics and biofuels. The problem will continue unless consumers can be persuaded to stop buying products which contain this ingredient.
We can do our part to preserve the orang’s habitat by refusing to buy any products containing palm oil. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to know which foods in our supermarkets do contain it as it is not compulsory to state this on the label. Only peanut oil, sesame and soya bean oil must be specifically labeled in food products to protect allergy sufferers. All other oils can simply be labeled as “vegetable oil”. However if the fat content is over 25 percent the oil will probably be palm oil.
Zoo staff are lobbying Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) to legislate to label palm oil on all food products that contain palm oil (or its derivatives) and are hoping that all New Zealanders will support them.
In the Indonesian rainforest time is unfortunately running out for the orangs. The Zoo’s Conservation Officer, Peter Fraser, has warned that they could be extinct in the wild within twelve years. Other reports from overseas estimate that the time frame may be much shorter.
It would be great if consumers, not just in New Zealand but all over the world, halted the tide of palm oil production by choosing palm oil free products.