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Meringues

By Nikki K on 27th Jul, 2014

Meringues

Method

  1. 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.
  2. Leave the 2 egg whites in a covered dish outside the fridge for 2 hours so that they reach room temperature before using.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 130⁰ (fan). Prepare a baking tray - by covering it with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.  
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Size your shapes or nests so that you either get one large one per person, two smaller ones, or multiple meringue drops.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Smaller meringue drops should dry right through with this cooking method, but the larger clouds or nests will still have a softer, chewier centre.
  15. 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.

Recipe Notes

  • 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.
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