Giant Meringues

I made meringues because I had a load of egg whites left over from last week’s baking. They keep for a good few days (much, much longer if you bake them until they are completely dry), but in the end I brought a few as a gift to our friends who invited us for dinner, and the others will be gone after tonight’s dinner…

I have made meringues many times, but I took the time to research meringue recipes for a few minutes before putting on my apron.

You have different methods for meringue, and different techniques. Some involve a sugar thermometer, and Yotam Ottolenghi’s method involves spreading sugar on a baking tray, baking it until it becomes liquid, and then pouring it into the frothy egg whites while it is being beaten by a Kenwood chef. I am sorry, Yotam – but despite the fawning groupie that I am – no housewife in the world will willingly generate that many dishes to wash, not to mention the potential disasters involving hot sugar syrup, an unwieldy baking tray, a spatula and kids/pets/husbands.

My method, therfore, simply involves egg whites and sugar. No syrup, no thermometer, no danger, no mess.

What you need:

Simple proportions: double as much sugar as you have egg white

300g egg white (about 10 eggs)

600g caster sugar
What you do:

  1. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, ideally with a stand-alone mixer (I have a Lidl equivalent of the Kenwood Chef – it cost 35 Euro and does the job – I have done it with a hand-held electric egg beater. Just be careful that the thing doesn’t overheat. Whipping meringue is a hard job for that kind of machine).
  2. Add the sugar, 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar at a time.
  3. Whisk for a good while (Vague, I know. Just whisk it.)
  4. You can use a piping bag to make them look pretty, but I just took a spoon and made a heap the size of an apple (leave sufficient space in between meringues). 
  5. Bake for 2-3 hours at 110 degrees Celcius (I left the oven ajar for the last half-hour, with a wooden spoon stuck in the door – all you really do is dry them out, not bake them.)

After three hours my meringues were perfectly solid on the outside, but ever so slightly soft and marshmallowy on the inside. Just the way I like them. 

  
Option 1:

You can add a little food colouring to the meringue at the very end. I used a little yellow, my friend’s daughter insists on pink. It’s just for a bit of fun…

Option 2:

You can flavour your meringue with vanilla, orange blossom water, rhum, etc. Ottolenghi make rosewater and pistacio meringues. Put a dose of rosewater in the egg whites to flavour the meringue, then drop a large dollop of meringue on chopped nuts before transferring them on the baking tray (nuts on the underside).

Option 3:

If you want to make Pavlova, add a tablespoon of corn flour and one of either lemon juice or malt vinegar.

Epilogue: 

I served my meringues with a little stewed (frozen) raspberries and strawberries, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. No photos… I didn’t have time to get out my phone before everyone had tucked in 😆.

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