Friday, October 31, 2014

How to make Meringues, thanks to Colleen

Crispy Meringues 

After our dinner party, I had leftover egg whites, so I thought I would try making meringues.

Earlier in the summer, I asked Colleen about making meringues for making Eton Mess (which I never got around to doing...)

Colleen says:  

"Meringues are pretty easy to make. You can find a recipe on the Internet  - but generally speaking about 6 egg whites (3/4) cup to 1 1/2 cups sugar.  You beat the eggs until frothy and then slowly add in the sugar.  If you want to add ground nuts or cocoa powder, then fold that in at the end.  Then you can pipe or spoon onto parchment covered sheet pan.  And bake for 1-2 hours in a slow oven.  Not sure, but probably around 250.  Then turn off the oven and just leave them overnight.  Although some people like a little chewiness.  It all sort of depends on the size of the meringue.  They keep forever due to the large amount of sugar in an airtight container.  It is a good way to use up egg whites left over from baking.  Although some people would just make an egg white omelette and call it done. --- Colleen "

So, I made my first batch of meringues, and they came out just fine.  

I checked in the King Arthur baking book for the temperature and they said 200 degrees so that's what temperature I used.  

And I remembered reading somewhere that a cold bowl works best.  

Vanilla Meringues

Makes 30-36 large meringues

3/4 cup of egg whites (about 6 eggs, whites only)

a pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
1.5 cups sugar, preferably superfine
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  

In a very clean, cold bowl, add the egg whites.

A pinch of cream of tartar can be added if you want to ensure stable meringues, but I didn't do this and mine came out fine.  
Beat on high until soft peaks form --- it happens faster than you might think.  
Start adding the caster sugar --- a little at a time --- about 1.5 teaspoons at a time --- 
while beating the egg whites --- until stiff, glossy peaks occur.  
Remove the beater(s).  Fold in the flavorings gently with a large spatula.  

I used only vanilla but nuts or chocolate can be added. 
Drop in dollops on to the parchment paper.

For half of them, I sprinkled a little sugar on top to see if that would brown them a little.

Mine were XL.  

So I baked them for 2.5 hours (instead of 1.5 to 2) at 200 degrees.  Then left them in the oven overnight.

And stored them in plastic bags with the air removed.  

And then froze them for future use.  I still want to make Eton Mess.
Well, I also ate one.  Just to be sure they were as good as they looked. :)

I don't know why it took me so long to make meringues.  

They were easy and fun to make!


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