Friday, 16 March 2012

Glamorous Miss Meringue.

So here we are, as promised, the perfect recipe for leftover egg whites, that old classic; the meringue. It's perfect because it's super easy and quick in terms of your involvement, yet you end up with something really rather fancy.

Aaand they keep for ages, meaning just a teeny bit of whisking saves you throwing away precious nourishment and allows you to bask in the knowledge that you've got the wherewithal to whip up a guest worthy pud at the drop of a hat. You domestic goddess you.

Meringues are so versatile, one batch leaves you with almost endless options. Pick and choose from countless combinations depending on the season and your fancy. How about with some 'super seasonal right now' rhubarb and custard? Or mashed up with strawberries in summer for meltingly lovely Eton Mess. A scrummy chocolate and pear concoction suits autumn and something chestnutty would be perfect for Christmas.

Ooooor pretty much any time, any day, maybe even right now, smashed and dolloped with softly whipped double cream and a healthy splodge of homemade salted caramel sauce, which I shall tell you about another day. Because right now it's Miss Meringue and her crispy coat and marshmallowey middle that is the star of the show. Who'd have thought that leftovers could be so glam. With Love and Cake.


A few notes:
  • You can use this recipe for any number of egg whites; another bonus for leftover situations. Just use 60g of sugar for every egg white.
  • You can make these as daintily small or large and pillowey as you like, I guess mine are sort of medium size. You'll just have to be vigilant with the cooking time and decrease a bit for small ones and vice versa. 
  • Despite the stress that seems to be induced by meringue making, I've never had any major problems. The most important thing is that your bowl and whisks are sparkly clean.
  • I always use my little electric hand whisk for such whisk intensive undertakings. By hand is possible to though if you fancy testing your endurance, or use a standing mixer if you're lucky enough to own one.
Makes 10-15
You will need

1 or 2 large baking sheet, lined

4 egg whites
240g caster sugar

  • First job, preheat the oven to 140˚c. 
  • Pop your egg whites in a nice big bowl and start to whisk on a medium speed. First they will get frothy and foamy and then they will grow into a lovely voluminous and bright white cloud.
  • Now at this stage, keep whisking, while adding and combining a few tablespoons of the sugar at a time until it's all used up and the mixture is beautifully smooth and shiny.
  • So next step, get them ready for the oven Blob 1-2 tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto you baking sheets, leaving a good few centimetres between each one, and shape as you desire. I just gave mine a swirl on top but you could make nests by making a little hollow in the centre.
  • Get straight in the oven and leave for 50 minutes. 
  • When the timer pings, check that the meringues look cooked, crisp and eeeeever so slightly starting to tinge golden, and then turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside it, undisturbed, to cool completely, which should stop any major cracks forming.
  • When cooked and cooled you can either tuck the meringues away for a rainy day of anoint immediately with cream and whatever other goodies that you fancy.

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