I admit I was quite intimidated by the thought of making Meringues, because I thought working with egg whites would be a tad tricky. But it really isn’t that hard and I’ll show you why..
I think the key to a successful first attempt at baking something is RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH, google different recipes and websites, especially those that provide Science-y explanations for major steps in a recipe, and then compare the different recipes and find one you think is most suitable, or mix steps together (if required)!
The key to making meringues is firstly, of course, the beating of the egg whites! Under-beat and the mixture will be too soft, over-beat and it will be disastrous. (For guide to beating egg whites, click here) And second, the baking of the meringues. You don’t want your meringues to brown and leave the middle gooey and uncooked. So pay careful attention:
Makes 2 baking sheets worth of meringues
3 egg whites, aged in fridge for at least a day, room temperature (the point of aging egg whites is to dry them so that they’ll whip up more stiffly and keep their shape better while baking. To age the egg whites, leave them in the fridge for at least a day)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (again, this is for the stability of the whipped mixture)
3/4 cup fine sugar (General rule: 1/4 cup sugar for each egg white you use)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Food colouring (optional)
Sprinkles to decorate (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. (the temperature shouldn’t be too high because we don’t want the meringues to brown, it is however high enough to dry the meringues gradually to produce their signature crispy-on-the outside and chewy-in-the-middle qualities)
2. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft, bubbly peaks form. The peaks will still flop over, and look kind of like bubble bath.
3. Turn mixer on high and add sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time (to ensure the sugar dissolves well). As they get glossy (emphasis on GET glossy), beat in vanilla and food colouring. Texture should be glossy and tacky, with peaks that stand straight up when you lift up your mixer.
4. Pipe onto parchment-covered sheets. (Important to have these sheets because the meringues will stick)
5. Bake for about 2 – 2.5 hours, until meringues are crispy and sound hollow when tapped on the base. (This really depends on the size of your meringues, the medium ones that I made took 2.5 hours)
6. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool in the oven. (Again this is to allow for gradual cooling of the meringues) Keep in airtight container for up to a week.