I always think of Christmas when it comes to meringue’s – my mum makes the best ones! (But then I could be biased). They always make an appearance around that time of year, usually to be had with strawberries and cream, as a pavlova or even just crushed in a bowl with a large dollop of brandy butter (oh I do love Christmas!)
I use to watch her make them with her electric hand whisk and always wanted to have a go myself, but thought they were a bit tricky! Okay, so with meringues, you shouldn’t over whisk, but then how can you tell when you have? They also need to be in the oven for just the right amount of time – too little and they are a gooey mess, too long and they soon go heavy and crisp! Mum just seems to make them just right with a crisp outside and gooey middle – there was a lot to live up to!
So this weekend, I thought I would have a go and see if I could make them for myself. I had just made chocolate ganache for the first time to frost some cupcakes, so thought this would be perfect to sandwich a few together! (as if the meringue itself wasn’t sweet enough!)
- 4 large organic egg whites, at room temperature
- 115g caster sugar
- 115g icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to fan 100 C and line 2 baking sheets with grease proof paper (be warned through, meringues can still stick to grease proof paper!)
- Tip the 4 large egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl. Beat them on medium speed with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.
- Now turn the speed up and start to add 115g caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time.
- Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. I read that it’s important to add the sugar slowly at this stage as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, you must remember not over-beat – you’ll know when to stop as the mixture should be thick and glossy.
- Sift one third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula.
- Continue to sift and fold in the remaining icing sugar a third at a time. Again, don’t over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy!
- There are a few ways in which to transfer your mixture onto the trays. The first being to scoop up a heaped dessertspoonful of the mixture. Using another dessertspoon, ease it on to the baking sheet to make an oval shape. Or simply just drop them in rough rounds, if you prefer! The other way is to transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a large piping nozzle. You will need to make sure that your mixture is thick or else it will ooze out the end!
- Bake for about an hour and a half, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour.
- Leave to cool on the trays or a cooling rack. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.)
- Serve two meringues sandwiched together with a generous dollop of chocolate ganache or softly whipped double cream.
They came out light and crispy with a gooey, sweet centre, and the chocolate ganache complimented it beautifully! I can’t wait to try these again at Christmas to make my own berry pavlova!
What would you make with your meringues?