Meringues

Everyone loves meringues. I don’t care if you think you don’t because you do actually. They are fierce simple to make and are highly adaptable. The basic recipe only needs two ingredients. How convenient. May I also add that as they only use egg whites they are low fat and high in protein. Put down that granola bar and have a meringue.

The quantity below will only make enough for two people on diets so I normally multiply by two at the very least, using two egg whites and 100g of caster sugar, to make a healthy batch  of single serve meringues (roughly six) or one big cake-sized one. I’ve listed the following quantities so you can increase the recipe easily depending on how many folks you’re feeding.

Oven temperature 150 Celsius

Egg white            1

Caster sugar       50g

One nugget of sage advice before I begin: do not attempt to make these without an electric beater/ whisk of some description.

Preheat the oven. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, see the photo below. This is when the mixture starts to look a little dry and if you want to be like one of those annoyingly excitable cooks on tv you can hold it over your head and you shouldn’t look like you got on the wrong side of a disgruntled seagull.

unsurprisingly tricky to capture in a photo
surprisingly tricky to capture in a photo

Add the first tablespoon of sugar and whisk. Add a second tablespoon and whisk. Then add the remaining sugar and whisk till well incorporated then whisk for another minute just to make sure. That is a basic french meringue made.

You can pipe the mixture if you want to show off but it’s much easier to use two dessert spoons. Scoop up a very heaped spoonful of the meringue goo on the first spoon and scrape it off, onto the prepared baking tray, using the second spoon. Keep going till all the mixture is happily doled out. If there are any pointy bits on the little meringue mounds, dip your finger in some water and squish the peak down so it’s more or less flat.

I didn't have the heart to squish down that squiggle, too swan-like
I didn’t have the heart to squish down that squiggle, too swan-like

If you choose to make one big meringue scrape all of the mixture into the middle of a lined baking tray and smooth down into whatever shape takes your fancy – round is always pretty.

Into the oven with them for:

Individual mounds     – 60mins

Cake-sized meringue – 80mins

They are done when they are just starting to colour slightly and are nice and hollow sounding when you tap them VERY gently.

toasty swan
toasted swan

Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and the meringues inside to cool completely.

There is no exact way to decorate these little beauties but I believe whipped cream is necessary to counter the dry and sweet meringue. Once the cream is dolloped on artfully arrange some berries. I chose raspberries, blueberries and cherries. I probably would have added strawberries too if I’d had any. In any case pick a selection of fruit with a variety of colours to make them look very pretty.

I went all out and melted 40g of dark chocolate (in the microwave) and using a spoon drizzled it across the berried meringues. The shrewd eyed among you may also note that I dipped some of the fruit in the chocolate too.

But decorate them as you will with or without fruit and/or chocolate. My point being meringues are deadly. Easy as an easy thing to make and you can vary the flavour depending on what you have in your fridge/ cupboard.

impressive with little effort, nice

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