Widow’s kisses or Grown-ups’ meringues


We needed biscuits and we needed biscuits badly.  I go through stages where I don’t make anything sweet because “I’m too fat” or “They are bad for us” or a similar wimpish  reason.  I don’t know why I refrain.  When there is nothing sweet in the house, we just go on a rampage searching here and there for anything remotely sweet.  We have even been known to eat cooking chocolate when things were desperate.

I decided to do something about it. I went  to eatyourbooks and typed in “pumpkin”.  I know that sounds like a strange thing to search for when you want to make a biscuit but the freezer is overflowing with pumpkins.  My endeavour to keep them in the cool room over summer didn’t work.  About Christmas time, I noticed they were going soft so it was a matter of chopping them up and freezing them or throw them in the compost bin.  Those who know me would know I chose the freezer.

I couldn’t find any pumpkin recipes that sounded as good as mum’s pumpkin fruit cake, spicy pumpkin loaf or spiced pumpkin and walnut muffins.

Next,  I searched under “semolina”.  As I have mentioned before, I have an inordinate amount of semolina.  I bought two packets of coarse semolina thinking it was fine and then lots of packets of fine when I found some.

My heart was not in the semolina search.  I don’t really like semolina biscuits.

I then decided to search for one of my favourite ingredients, “walnuts”.  Walnut shortbread by Damien Pignolet in French popped up.  I have been thinking of making some shortbread since my Christmas effort left a bit to be desired.  I got French off the shelf and checked out the recipe.  It was a jackpot – a post will be forthcoming.  On a few pages before the walnut shortbreads recipe was this recipe for  “Widow’s Kisses” which is, essentially, a walnut meringue.  I love meringues.  They use up the inevitable supply of egg whites I have in the freezer… and I love walnuts.  I was also intrigued by the use of the grated zest of green (unripe) lemon.  It is not citrus season here so unripe was all I could get my hands on.  Perfect.

Damien advised that the recipe comes from a Viennese friend who migrated to Australia in the late 1930’s.



  • 4 egg whites
  • ⅛ tsp white vinegar
  • 240g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 green (unripe) lemon
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • cocoa, for dusting


  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Beat the egg whites until frothy.
  3. Add the vinegar, increase the speed a little and, gradually, add the sugar.
  4. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Using a metal spoon, fold in the zest and walnuts.
  6. Using two dessertspoons, drop rough mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking tray.
  7. Bake for one hour then reduce the temperature to 70ºC and bake until dry (about 30 minutes or so).
  8. Allow to cool then store in an airtight container.
  9. Dust with cocoa to serve.

If you like this recipe, you may also like my hazelnut meringue recipe. Here is the link.


26 thoughts on “Widow’s kisses or Grown-ups’ meringues

  1. Pingback: Walnut Shortbreads | Passion Fruit Garden

  2. I’m concerned about your freezer, is it a scary place to visit or a haven of rescue? I too love meringue and could just chomp the lot off in a single sitting. Love the name! Walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, all nuts=yum in meringue. Cheers, Maree 🙂

    • Its a bit of both really. When there are little containers of spag bol in the freezer, I love it. But when I blanch 20 bags of beans in the hope I will eat them over winter and summer comes again with its bean crop it is a dreaded place to visit. I do try to keep it under control and having three dogs is a blessing in more ways than one. The last 2 bags of beans have moved up to the dog’s shelf.

  3. They look amazing… I know I wouldn’t be able to stop at one… or ten. I’ve never had a problem with too much pumpkin, although I may not ever have had the numbers you do. Since I now have access to my bbq with side-burner we now eat chilli pumpkin stir fry at least once a week.

  4. Oh, I know the feeling of searching desperately for something sweet on the odd occasion. The cupboards and fridge get opened so many times hoping for a sweet miracle. Not even a can of sweetened condensed milk is safe when I’m desperate for a fix. Your meringues look great.

  5. For your pumpkin problem a salad made from small bits of roasted pumpkin (some bits over cooked to black is yum) , chick peas (tinned, drained, rinsed) and sliced red onion with a balsamic glaze as dressing is really delicious. Piled up on a flat, white plate, it looks very attractive and tastes even better. Love your blog. Robyn

    • Hi Robyn. I think I will try that. I couldn’t let the pumpkins go to waste and it will be a while before this year’s are ready. Thanks for the compliment and thanks for commenting.

  6. Sound really spectacular. I’ve not heard of using unripe lemon zest before. Although, I have seen sugared whole unripe lemons (about the size of a walnut) for sale here in Athens as sweets. Also, odd that I was just recently thinking of making meringue biscuits with nuts and chocolate chips.

  7. Do you know how they got their name? I have walnuts and I have egg whites, though an unripe lemon is not something we find over here so it will have to be a ripe one.

Please, leave a comment - it makes me feel loved.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.