Canonigo (Meringue with Custard Sauce and Orange Liqueur)

December 17, 2019

This is a recipe that I got from Nora Daza’s cookbook, way back when I just first started baking on my own, but tweaked it. My grandmother’s cook used to make the ‘Floating Island’ version of this and as a child, I liked it very much. This dessert is light and not so sweet. A very good friend, Anna McPherson, loved this.

Canonigo (Meringue with Custard Sauce and Orange Liqueur)

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By Marianne de Leon Serves: 10 -12
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 2 hours Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

A classic Filipino dessert with Spanish roots, this light and airy meringue is topped with caramel and served with a delectable custard sauce.


  • Caramel
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Meringue
  • 7 (1 cup) egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Custard Sauce
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 7 egg yolks - ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 cup (250 ml) fresh milk
  • 1/4 cup (62 ml) orange liqueur



Preheat oven to 250ºF (120ºC)


Prepare a round baking tin (8 inches in diameter, 3inches tall) and a 9 x 13-inch baking pan for the Bain Marie

Pan with Caramel


Place 2 tablespoons water in baking tin.


Place pan over very low fire, add in the sugar.


Shake the pan to mix the water with the sugar; return to fire. Let the sugar melt and turn to a light golden tan. Do not use any metal instrument to stir the mixture; use only a wooden skewer or wooden spoon to stir the mixture.


When all the sugar has dissolved, use a hot mitt on your hands and lift the pan from the fire and turn off fire.


With mitts still on, tilt the pan from side to side, trying to cover all the sides and bottom of pan with caramel sugar.


Let it spread evenly. When all the sides have been covered, set pan down and let cool.


Set aside.



Mix 1/2 cup sugar with baking powder. Set aside.


In bowl of electric mixer, pour in egg whites and cream of tartar.


Using the wire whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed till foamy; then gradually add the sugar-baking powder mixture in four parts.


Beat till the egg whites are stiff but not dry.


Whisk in vanilla till just blended in.


Carefully spoon meringue into caramelised baking tin, making sure that all the meringue is carefully packed in; avoiding any air pockets.


Bake Bain Marie* for 1 ½ hours or till the top of the meringue is a golden brown.


Turn off the heat in the oven and let the meringue rest inside for about 1 hour.


Take the pan from the oven and continue to cool for another hour.


Using a thin knife, let the knife go around the edge of the meringue to dislodge any part stuck to the caramel on the sides of pan.


Get a serving plate larger than the meringue, with about 2-inch sides, to prevent sauce from falling out; and flip the meringue onto the serving dish.


Place in refrigerator while you make the custard sauce.

Custard Sauce


Using a double boiler over low fire, combine sugar, yolks, and milk, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly. Use a wire whisk to stir so that there is no coagulation and the sauce is fine.


Remove from fire and cool; when cool, stir in the orange liqueur until well blended.


Continue to cool sauce in refrigerator.


When sauce is cool, whisk to mix and pour over meringue and chill for 1 hour before serving.


Sauce can be served separately if desired.


  • To do a Bain Marie, place the round tin with the caramel and meringue on the 9 x 13-inch baking tin. Gently place everything in your oven and, using a pitcher, carefully fill the rectangle tin with water up to an inch high. Baking using a Bain Marie ensures slow and even heat for your dish.
  • There are different brands and types of orange liqueur such as triple sec, Grand Marnier, and Curaçao, but I prefer to use Cointreau. Use what you have available.

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