- 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
Beat them slowly until they get foamy.
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.