Meringue – Best ever no fail recipe
I recently had to produce dozens and dozens of meringues, which all had to look and eat the same. There are many variations but this is my go to recipe as it is stable and has never once failed me. It produces a meringue with a crisp shell and soft chewy center. Once made these meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. The variations are endless, dip them in melted chocolate, swirl a fruit puree through the mixture before spooning out. Stack them high, smash them for Eton Mess. You can top with a hazelnut spread and chopped nuts, colour them with freeze dried fruit powder. Pipe the mixture and sandwich together with curd of cream….as I said, endless.
meringues were used as far back as 1600’s.
DID YOU KNOW
The egg whites are made up of water and protein and as they are whisked the proteins cling to either the air or water and that is why the magic happens, air is caught and bubbles form, runny whites become glossy mounds. Left alone the bubbles will collapse. An acid helps to stabilise this process, here I use cream of tartar, you might have a recipe that uses lemon or vinegar. Yolks are primarily fat. If you get any yolk in the whites it will hinder the process as fat will coat your lovely bubbles of air, stopping the proteins doing their thing. Break each egg into a separate container then tip into the mixing bowl. If you break the yolk you only loose one egg. Fat residue is also the reason your bowl must be very clean. I was always told meringue in glass, never in plastic.
All you need is an ovenproof dish, clean glass or stainless bowl, hand or stand mixer, baking tray and paper and two serving spoons, plus:
- 200g caster sugar
- 100g of egg whites at room temperature (about 3) please weigh them out.
- Pinch of cream of tartar
Line a baking tray with baking paper and pop the oven on and preheat to 200°C. Put the sugar in an oven-proof dish and measure out your egg whites.
You can actually freeze the yolks or store them in the fridge in an airtight container for about 4 days. Carbonara springs to mind.
Once the oven is hot enough put the sugar in and allow to heat for 5 minutes only, sprinkle over a pinch of cream of tartar and whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stage. Hard work by hand but it can be done; an electric or stand mixer is best.
Add the sugar slowly by pouring in a steady stream while still mixing on high, do not rush this. Once all the sugar is incorporated whisk for a further 8 minutes. Most people under whisk, help those proteins catch the air, the mixture should be thick and glossy. DONE.
I use this quantity to make 6 big snowy dollops of swirliness. I scoop up a large spoonful and push the mixture off onto the paper with another spoon. Bake in a low oven for about 1½ hours. No temperature here you just have to know your oven, at work it is slightly less than 100° at home just over. You can tell that they are cooked as they plump up and will show a little cracking on top. The meringues should remain beautifully white and be dry enough to move along the paper if you poke them. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool on the tray.
You can make one big shape, the six like I make or several smaller ones, obviously, the cooking times will change. I use 2 batches of this mix and make a single serve pav by layering meringue, cream and fruit. Easy to move so travels well and looks great even as people devour it, as they certainly will.
NOTE: if your meringues brown the oven is too hot. If your meringues are sticky your kitchen is too hot or damp.
Don’t eat eggs, use chickpea water instead. Sounds weird, but chickpeas are protein and the water they sit in contains that protein too. It’s just science. Check this site out. Egg free meringues