Meringues for Mum

Meringues are one of the cheapest but most wonderfully dramatic thing you can make! Out of two egg whites and 160g of caster sugar you can get several towering meringues that will look fabulous. The hardest bit comes with concentrating on how the whipping is proceeding. Over beaten eggs will result in a pock marked meringue – still delicious, and highly edible, but without the smooth sides of a perfect meringue. Under beaten eggs simply won’t hold their shape, and your meringue will be a sloppy pool of egg white. So when beating the eggs, concentrate! We also believe in warming the sugar in the oven before you add it, slowly, spoonful by spoonful, to your eggs. Don’t warm for too long – you don’t want a caramel or a syrup, just warm sugar. This helps bring the eggs together and we find it gives a smoother finish. You could also use jaggery, but it will result in a much heavier meringue, and you really need to sieve it which is a horrible job!! Lastly, be precise in your measuring.

 

INGREDIENTS
For lots of meringues (around 12 over the top big ones or 20 small ones).

5 egg whites
250g caster sugar

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180. Measure out the sugar, and place in the oven either in the measuring bowl if it’s heatproof, or laid out on a lined baking tray. It only needs to be in there for about 5 minutes and it’ll be warm enough. During that 5 minutes, carefully separate your eggs ensuring that NO egg yolk is contaminating the egg whites. Wipe the bowl of your electric mixture with the cut edge of a lemon, as well as the whisk before putting the egg whites in and whisking. Once the egg whites start to firm up and turn white, remove the sugar from the oven and add is slowly – spoonful by spoonful – into your egg whites. Allow the sugar to be absorbed and whipped before adding more. Take a moment to turn the oven down to about 130. Once the mixture is whipped to the point where it holds it’s shape (but be careful not to over whip), take two spoons and fashion your meringues on a baking sheet. You can go small and dainty, or large and pillowy. Alternatively, spread it out like a plate, which will make a lovely base for a pavlova (once it’s cooked and cooled, slather it in freshly whipped cream and berries). This is the fun of meringues – you can do what you like at this stage! We usually dust the meringues with cocoa powder, or Sushila’s chai spice, just lightly sieving it over one edge of the meringue. But you could put on some pistachio nuts, or little granules of jaggery instead.

 

Place in the oven (130) for about two hours. The meringues should be dry and hollow to the (light) tap on the bottom. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving with cream and berries and fresh passion fruit.

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