There is something about crisp white meringue which I adore. Sweet melt-in-the-mouth bites of loveliness. Whenever I have them, they take me back to my childhood and remind me of my father. A precious memory, since I lost him to cancer when I was just 18.
We used to visit a town in Oxfordshire called Wallingford each summer and it was always a treat for me to spend father-daughter time going to a little cafe there for tea. They served the loveliest, crispest meringues dipped in chocolate. The first time I ate one, I accidentally breathed out after taking a bite and almost disappeared in white dust. We laughed and laughed and after that, each time we went to the cafe, I would try to replicate the experience (gross…… but fun!).
The meringues I have made here were meant to be ‘kisses’, but I have yet to manage the technique to get them ‘pointy’. I always seem to be rushing to get things done at the moment, without the time to concentrate properly and consequently, I seem to be having more than my fair share of mess-ups! If I just slowed down a bit, I would definitely save myself time, instead of having to make everything twice…….
Or in the case of these meringues…… three times! Having carefully learnt the lessons on how to make good meringue, I managed to break not one, but two cardinal rules. Round one completely flopped…… I forgot to wipe the bowl with lemon and think there may have been a trace of residual grease clinging to the side…… disaster!
On the second attempt, I unthinkingly opened the oven door to ‘check’ progress at a crucial point and managed to cause cracks across the tops, the like of which would only be seen in the worst of earthquakes.
By the time I got to the third attempt, the lack of pointy tops was not exactly a priority and to be honest, the taste and flavour of these meringues more than made up for their shapelessness. They are after all, infused with the flavour of caramel (added in the form of natural flavour extract) and the meringue is crisp and light and perfectly powdery.
They are also small enough for popping in the mouth and either melting or crunching into oblivion……. If you prefer a little extra decadence, either use whole or crush to make Eton Mess or deconstructed pavlova. You simply cannot beat the combination of sweet meringue with pillowy whipped cream.
I can also vouch that they more than compliment a scoop of ice cream or a bowl of fruit and are totally divine dipped in chocolate.
I could become seriously addicted…… meringues may just be my new obsession!
I am sharing this jar full of Colourful Meringues with the following :
Treat Petite with The Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi
Cook Blog Share – this week with Hijacked by Twins
Sunday Fitness & Food with Marathons & Motivation
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
300g caster sugar
- Prepare three baking trays by lining with baking paper. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6 and line a deep baking dish with baking paper. Weigh the caster sugar into the dish and heat in the oven for 7 minutes (this helps to give the meringue a stable, glossy texture).
- Whilst the sugar is heating, whisk the egg whites (preferably in a stand mixer). Whisk slowly at first (to allow small stabilising bubbles to form) and gradually increase the speed, whisking until the egg white forms stiff peaks.
- Take the hot sugar from the oven and turn the oven down to 100 C/225 F/Gas ¼. Leave the oven door open to enable the oven to cool a little quicker.
- With the mixer on full speed, add the hot sugar to the egg whites a teaspoon at a time, whisking continually and making sure the mixture has returned to ‘stiff peaks’ before each addition. Continue until all the sugar has been added.
- Once all the sugar has been added, whisk on full speed for at least 5 minutes until truly stiff and glossy. To test whether the mixture is ready, rub a small amount of the mixture between your thumb and finger. If it is still gritty with sugar, continue to whisk until smooth.
- Finally add any flavouring to the meringue mix and whisk or fold through.
- Take a disposable piping bag and turn inside out (leaving about an inch inside the turn to grab and turn back). Paint three or four stripes of edible food colouring paste up the piping bag about half the length of the bag. Pull the point back through to turn the bag back the right way (the colour should be on the inside).
- Depending on how many different coloured meringues you want to make, you will need a piping bag painted with each individual colour. You will also need to divide the meringue mixture proportionately for each colour.
- Fill the bag with meringue, squeezing and squishing a little to remove any air pockets.
- Secure down the baking paper to the baking sheet with a small blob of icing paste.
- Trim the end off the piping bag (to leave a hole about the size of a 50p piece) and then pipe blobs of icing paste onto the baking paper, pulling up at the end of each pipe.
- Bake the meringue for approx 1 hour and 30 minutes. Try not to not open the door whilst they are baking for at least an hour and a quarter. They are baked when the meringues come away for the paper easily and cleanly. Turn the oven off, leaving the meringue inside to cool with the oven.