- If you can, separate your eggs at least 2 hours before using (this strengthens the protiens for optimum meringue-iness) – make sure you get no egg yolk gets into the egg whites.
- Leave the 2 egg whites in a covered dish outside the fridge for 2 hours so that they reach room temperature before using.
- Pre-heat oven to 130⁰ (fan). Prepare a baking tray - by covering it with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Eggs vary a lot in size so the best way to get the quantity right is to weigh the egg whites. Place them in a glass or stainless steel bowl that is absolutely clean and dry.
- Then weigh out double that quantity of caster sugar (e.g. if the egg whites together weigh 80g, then you need about 160g of sugar).
- Whisk egg whites on low-medium speed until they start foaming, then increase the speed to medium-high until they are beyond the soft peak stage but not yet at stiff peaks.
- Start to add the caster sugar – in four equal batches. Allowing the whisk to fully mix in each batch of sugar before adding the next.
- Continue to whisk until the meringue mixture is stiff and glossy. You will know the sugar is fully incorporated when it no longer feels gritty when you rub a little between your fingers.
- Transfer to your prepared baking tray – either spoon the mixture into cloud shapes, or use a piping bag to pipe meringue nests or meringue drops. If you are using a piping bag, do not fill too full as you need to be able to twist it closed above the mixture.
- Size your shapes or nests so that you either get one large one per person, two smaller ones, or multiple meringue drops.
- Place the baking tray in the oven. Reduce the heat to 120⁰C (fan) and cook for about 30 minutes. Then turn the oven off, but DO NOT open the door yet.
- Leave the meringues in the oven without opening the door for several hours as it cools down – or make them in the evening and leave them in overnight.
- Gently remove meringues from baking paper or silicone mat, and place in an airtight container until needed. They will last well for a couple of weeks if stored appropriately, and can be frozen for longer.
- Smaller meringue drops should dry right through with this cooking method, but the larger clouds or nests will still have a softer, chewier centre.
- Meringues are great topped or sandwiched with Chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream) and fresh fruit. Or use them as a component in other dessert recipes like eton mess.
- If you don’t have a piping bag, you could use a freezer bag and simply cut a hole in one of the bottom corners.
- If your meringues cook either too much or not enough try getting an oven thermometer so you can check how hot your oven runs.
- Extra egg yolks can be put to good use making mayonnaise, home-made pasta or added to the filling of a quiche to make it extra-rich.
- Silicone baking mats (like my SILPAT – in the photo) are great for meringues, macarons, cookies and other baking tray goodies.