Monday, 7 April 2014


Meringues are somewhat en vogue at the moment, with many the modish patisserie choosing to embellish their windows with tempting piles of these delicate and delicious beauties. This is for good reason, as despite utilising but a few ingredients and simple techniques they feel inherently sophisticated and luxurious. Light and crisp on the outside, yielding to a soft and chewy centre they are of course saccharine sweet, but are a fantastic base for a veritable kaleidoscope of flavours, aromas and even textures. The trick I find is to warm the caster sugar in the oven prior to whisking it through the egg whites, which gives the finished meringue a wonderful marshmallowy texture. Just have fun with all the whisking, mixing and shaping, as the process should be as much about whimsy as the finished article!

Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 65 - 70 Mins
5 Large Egg Whites
200g Caster Sugar
100g Icing Sugar
A dash of flavouring (Such as vanilla, rose water or orange blossom)

Begin by preheating the oven to 140C/2755/Gas 1 and lining a large flat baking sheet with baking parchment. Once the oven has warmed spread the caster sugar over the parchment and place in the centre of the oven for around 5-7 minutes to warm through. At the same time add the egg whites to a large, clean mixing bowl and whisk until they are light, fluffy and hold their shape. Remove the warmed caster sugar from the oven, add a little of it to the mixture and whisk again, this time on a higher speed. Keep slowly adding the warm sugar and whisking, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Sift in half of the icing sugar, gently fold through with a metal spoon until combined then add the other half, along with your flavouring and continue folding. How much flavouring you add depends on your preference, but if in doubt restraint is always advisable. Be as gentle as you can folding the mixture but be sure there are no powdery lumps before proceeding.

Line two more large flat baking sheets with baking parchment. Take a large spoonful of the mixture and carefully dollop onto the parchment. You can be creative with the shaping, as long as you don't spread the mixture too thinly and making sure you can fit 5-6 meringues on each baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the mixture then bake in the centre of the oven for 65-70 minutes, until they are a very pale golden and feel dry and crisp on the outside. When you are happy they are baked remove them from the oven, leave on the tray for 15-20 minutes, then carefully remove from the paper and leave to cool completely on the wire rack. You have finished, so time to break out the chopped nuts, cream, ice cream, fresh fruit, melted chocolate, or all of the above!

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