Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A First Try at Meringues

I'm sorry it has been a while, I actually did intend to have a few more posts out at the beginning of the month, and I had the material all ready and waiting. However, we unfortunately had a death in the family, so for the past few weeks all of my time has been spent looking after my family, and helping to arrange the funeral.

But enough time has passed, and I thought it was time to come back into the blogging world. Honestly, I don't even know what people have been doing, so I've got weeks of posts to catch up on.

So I decided I would have a go at making meringues. They kind of seem like a nightmare for amateur bakers, and you tend to hear stories of how it can go wrong. But honestly, I found them very easy (admittedly I used a stand mixer), they are just very time consuming. They weren't perfect, but you learn from your mistakes, and I will know for next time what to do. They are a definite 'must try at least one' type of thing.

I read online a few hints on making better meringues, such as having the egg whites at room temperature, and not opening the oven door during the first hour of cooking, as this can cause the meringue to crack. As you can see from my pictures, this happened to mine, but it didn't make much of a difference.

I made a large batch, due to having a load of egg whites left over from another baking experiment, so the normal meringue recipe normally requires half the amount of egg white and sugar below.
6 Egg Whites
350g Caster Sugar
1 Pinch of Salt

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 1/275F/140C, and line some baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Add the egg whites and salt to a greaseproof bowl, and using the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on a low setting for 1 minute.
Then increase to a medium speed, and whisk for 2-3 minutes, so that the egg whites form stiff peaks.
While continuing to whisk, add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, until the mixture becomes thick and glossy, and the peaks are stiff. This can take up to 10 minutes.
Using a metal spoon, place spoonfuls of meringue onto the baking trays, and put in the oven.
Bake for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours, until the meringues are crisp on the bottom, and are a pale brown colour.
After the time is up, turn the oven off, and leave the meringues in the oven, letting the oven cool down.
Once done, store in an air tight container, and they can be kept for a couple of weeks.

Of course, the most obvious thing to do with meringue is to make Eton Mess. Sometimes there's nothing better than mixing together whipped cream, meringue and strawberries.
I actually jazzed my cream up a bit by adding a couple of handfuls of frozen raspberries while whipping the cream up, adding a bit more sweetness to the dessert.
I admit I had trouble not eating all of the strawberries, they are just so lovely this time of year :)

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