It’s August! How did that happen? I’m pretty sure it was January only a month or two ago. Well, since it’s summer I’ve got a great recipe for you. As we all know, summer is the time of wonderful fresh fruit. We all start eating more of it because, well, it tastes so good! And what could be better to accompany your lovely fresh fruit than a little cloud of light, chewy-in-the-middle meringue?!
So many people are daunted by the prospect of making their own meringues but there is absolutely not need to be. They can whipped up really easily and quickly once you know how. I use meringues of all shapes and sizes as a go-to desert when people are coming over, not only because they are quick to make but also because they are actually better when you make them the night before. Honestly, there’s no excuse for not trying to make your own and you’ll be so much happier with them than the shop-bought alternative!
Today I’m going to give you the recipe for simple mounded, cloud-like meringues. The recipe can be sized up or down which is why I use ounces for this one as it makes the maths a LOT easier! It’s pretty much two ounces of sugar for every egg white, although of course the cooking time will need to be adjusted slightly!
You Will Need:
3 Large Eggs
6oz Caster Sugar
1 tsp Cornflour
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
After you’ve pre-heated your oven to 160°C, the first job is to separate your eggs. It’s best to do this through your fingers rather than using the shell as you’re less likely to pierce the yolk. If you get ANY yolk in your whites you cannot use them, they won’t whip up properly. Another bit of advice is that you use two smaller bowls depositing the white in one and the yolk in the other. After each egg, put thewhite into the larger bowl that you will be using for whisking. That way, if you get a bit of yolk in the next white, you only have to get rid of one instead of the whole lot.
Once the eggs are separated and the whites are in a nice large bowl you can start whisking. Two handy tips here are one, to use an electric whisk (either hand-held or freestanding) because no matter how strong you are I can guarantee you will have a serious arm-ache after all the whisking required here and two, try to use a glass bowl if you have one as you will be able to see if there are any egg whites that are still liquid lurking underneath!
Whisk the whites at full speed until they have become like a stiff foam and create a little peak when the whisk is lifted out. Check underneath, if you are using a glass bowl, in case any egg has escaped the whisk and tilt your bowl – the egg whites shouldn’t move.
Now you need to add the sugar. Turn your electric whisk on between medium and high speed and, at the same time as you are whisking, add the sugar slowly, a teaspoon at a time. This is much easier with a free standing mixer but it is still possible with a hand-held electric whisk. If your bowl is slipping around, pop it on top of a tea towel to keep it steady. Once you’ve added all your sugar, combine the cornflour and white wine vinegar (I do mine in an eggcup as it’s such a small amount) and then add that, whisking it in.
You should now have beautifully glossy meringue mix that forms stiff peaks on the end of the whisk and in the bowl when you lift the whisk out.
Next, the mix needs to be put onto two baking trays lined with baking paper. I use little bits of the mix on each corner of the tray to stick the paper down. This is quite useful because, as you pull your spoon away from the meringue you’ve just plopped on the tray, the sticky mix is going to try to come with it and if the paper isn’t secured it all gets a bit fiddly!
For these particular meringues, I just use two desert spoons from the kitchen drawer and use those to blob the mix onto baking trays. I don’t think there’s a need for piping bags if these are going to be served up with fruits and berries, they look nice just as they are and a little more “rustic” and home-made. If you, unlike me, are a perfectionist then please go ahead and pipe perfect shapes!
So, spoon up some meringue and use the other spoon to slide it off of the first one onto the tray. This makes about 15 meringues so you will need to use two trays most probably. Remember that meringues do expand slightly so they need to be well spaced.
Once you’ve Done this, put both trays in the oven, shut the door and immediately turn the oven down to 150°C. Bake the Meringues for 45 minutes. Once your timer has gone off, do not open the door. Simply turn your oven off and leave the meringues in there – no sneak peeks! You need to leave the meringues in there at least until the oven is completely cold but I find I get the best results if I make them in the evening and leave them in the oven over night – do whatever is best for you though. Once the meringues are cool you can store them in an airtight container and they last for aaages!
So pop down the shops and get some fruit and some cream. Treat yourself to a delicious pudding! Or serve these in a bowl at your next dinner party so your guests can help themselves to a meringue, scatter some fruit on top and smother with double (or even clotted) cream! Trust me, once you’ve made these you’ll never want a shop-bought meringue again!
I hope this helps you to create some lovely meringues without any fear or hassle. Let me know if you try these out and what’s your favourite thing to accompany your meringues?