Meringue is one of those things that in the past I’ve put off making, thinking it to be quite a technically complicated, and easy to bugger up. They are, in fact, more than OK once you get to grips with a few key technical tips/have a little patience, and they’re an excellent way to use up any leftover egg whites after you’ve been baking rich bread doughs, such as with my dark chocolate and blueberry buns.
Meringues are really versatile, and they also keep really well, meaning that you can whip up a pudding that feels like a spectacular treat with not much effort at all.
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 2 egg whites
Pre-heat your oven to 100 degrees centigrade. Start by separating your eggs. I always use my hands to do this, but you can utilise the shell to shell method – basically whatever works best for you.
Place the whites in a bowl with high-sides and whisk them until they form stiff peaks when you remove the whisk. I’m not a masochist so I will recommend that you opt for an electric beater, unless you’ve got arms like Popeye, as the whisking may take some minutes.
Very gradually, teaspoon by teaspoon, start to add the sugar until it’s all included and the mixture is thick, sleek and glossy. If you’re feeling brave, you can tell that you’ve reached the right stage of firmness by holding the bowl aloft over your head. If you survive without acquiring a new hat, you’re ready to bake!
Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper and use a tablespoon to blob about six small mounds of the meringue mixture out. Don’t worry about being too uniform – these are going to be the most imperfectly glorious kind of meringues, with snowy peaks and dips all over the shop, all the better to nestle cream or fruit in.
Put the tray in the oven and bake for 3 hours. When 3 hours are up, turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool in the oven overnight without opening the door.
Serve them with some lightly whipped double cream (or even better – clotted cream) and some seasonal fruit stewed with a little honey for sweetness.
Recipe adapted from the always excellent and very lovely Nigel Slater.