There is nothing like a light and fluffy meringue to complement a wonderful meal. These tips will help you master the recipe and prepare this mouth-watering dessert for your guests.
Makes 20 meringue shells
- 3 egg whites, 150 g
- (2/3 c) white sugar, plus extra for sprinkling.
- Heat the oven to 110°C (230°F). Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a large, grease-free copper, stainless steel, glass or china bowl. You can do this with a hand whisk, but it will be quicker with an electric model. Gradually blend in half the sugar, whisking well after each addition then fold in the remaining sugar, using a clean, metal spoon.
- Spoon or pipe the glossy mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment, sprinkle lightly with sugar and bake for 2½ to three hours or until crisp. When cooled, store the shells in an airtight tin, ideally in a warm place. For serving, they can be sandwiched together with whipped cream, which can be flavoured with vanilla and sugar if you wish.
- Bake immediately after mixing or meringues may “weep” a watery syrup. Don’t be tempted to raise the oven temperature to speed up baking — this is another common cause of “weeping.” To make more room for filling, press the base of each shell lightly with your finger halfway through cooking.
Absolute cleanliness of equipment and scrupulous care when you separate your eggs are the keys to making perfect meringues. An egg separator allows the white to drain through holes, while retaining the yolk, but you don’t need any special equipment to perform this simple task.
- Wash your eggs and hands before cooking to minimize any risk of infection.
- Working over a bowl, crack the egg at its broadest point.
- Use your thumbs to break the shell apart, letting the white fall into the bowl, but retaining the yolk.
- Tip the egg from shell to shell until only the yolk is left.
- Nip off any threads of white with your fingertips.