Up until very recently meringues have been my culinary nemesis (along with brandy snaps but that’s another story).
I was going slightly crazy because I just couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong. I tried lots of recipes and followed all the advice (buying fresh eggs, scrupulously cleaning the bowl and whisk, separating the eggs with great care).
But they would always collapse when I added the sugar, making a sticky, sickly-sweet, flat disc that was barley edible.
You may wonder why on earth I kept at it. Well I often make other things (custards, ice cream) that use only the egg yolk and meringues are the perfect way to use up the white. Also my grandma is a champion meringue maker and it just didn’t seem right that I couldn’t do it.
Anyway, still frustrated but determined, I watched this YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrjWrWeM5JI) and finally worked out what I was doing wrong. I had been using this whisk attachment that came with my hand blender:
But the in the video the presenter used the two regular beaters instead.
And when I did that they came out beautifully.
So I am now making meringues regularly and very happily (hence the need for the recipe to be recorded on this blog).
(a combination of the recipe in the YouTube video above and Delia Smith’s Pavlova recipe from her Complete Cookery Course)
- Egg whites
- Caster sugar – 50g per egg white
Set your oven to 150oC (fan).
Carefully separate your eggs making sure to get no yolk at all in with the white. Save the yolks for another use.
In a very clean, glass bowl, beat the egg whites with your electric hand blender (using the two regular beaters) until you get stiff peaks (in other words the mixture would stay in the bowl if you tipped it upside down).
Measure out 50g of caster sugar for each egg white used. Add this to the egg white a dessert spoonful at a time, mixing after each addition for about 10 seconds with the electric whisk, before adding the next.
At this point I like to swirl a bit of gel food colouring into the mix for a nice effect (yellow is used in the photo above). Dot the food colouring into the mix with a cocktail stick and then swirl a couple of times with a metal spoon.
Take a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and dollop the meringue mix onto the sheet using a metal spoon. You can make the meringues any size you like, or shape into a large circle with an indent in the middle if you are making a Pavlova.
3 egg whites will make five large meringues (as above) or one Pavlova.
Put the meringues into the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 140oC.
Bake for one hour, then turn the oven off (do not open the door) and leave in the oven overnight until they are completely cool.
Store in an airtight container.