Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Mmmmmeringue

Only a few ingredients, yet so hard to get PERFECT. But I'm trying.
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar (if you use the regular kind of sugar, it will be gritty)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (important, it keeps the egg whites firm)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
Let the egg whites come to room temperature.
Beat them slowly until they get foamy.
Add the cream of tartar and beat until you get soft peaks.

If you are poor, like me, your arm will be aching by now because you have a crappy, low-powered, hand-held electric mixer. But you must persevere!

Add the sugar, a little at a time, while you are still beating the crap out of this mixture. Then add the vanilla at the end, when the mix is firm. You could even add a drop of food colouring if you like.

Pipe them into pretty shapes on a tray lined with baking paper (not waxed paper, and for goodness sake don't grease it).

Cook at 130C for an hour and a half. Leave in the oven with the door shut overnight to dry out.

I can't guarantee success, but here are some sure-fire ways to fail (learnt by experience):
  • Get some egg yolk in the mix. It will literally never firm up.
  • Use plastic mixing bowls or utensils. They can retain tiny amounts of grease from previous use, and again, the whites won't stiffen.
  • Open the oven door during cooking. They'll crack.
  • Keep the meringues in the fridge. They'll go soggy and weepy.
Worst case scenario, once they're cooked, you could turn them into Eton Mess.

PS: Cream of tartar? It's a by-product of wine-making.
Not a crack in sight. Lovely.

6 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to make meringues and never been brave enough.

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  2. Mmmmmm, Eton Mess... Almost worth screwing up the meringes, really!! ;)

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  3. hahaha! yeah, discovered putting the tiniest bit of egg yolk inthe mix doesn'twork out when Chantal and I were around 9 and 12 years of age...

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  4. @Brie - as you can see from the ingredients, even if you stuff it up there isn't too much wastage. You can even use the spare egg yolks to make custard.

    @Kirsti - I know. Eton Mess is awesome.

    @Sam - I think I was about the same age when I discovered the downfalls of poor egg-separation technique!

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  5. I use white vinegar to stabilize rather than cream of tartar. Will have to try both out to see which works best...

    ~*Ness (at work, can't sign into Google account)

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  6. Ness, I've tried vinegar in other recipes too. It doesn't seem to matter too much. These are the best batch I've made yet, but that's probably more about practice and less about cream of tartar!

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