Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Yummy scrummy meringues

I don't remember making meringues before. The only reason I did on Sunday was laziness. It was either make some or nip to the shops and buy some. I wanted an idiot proof recipe, and this proved to be ideal. The yummiest, scrummiest, lightest, crunchiest, chewiest, sweetest meringues ever. They are so much better than bought. (...but best bought meringues I've had though are those made by M&S. These are slightly gooey inside. Mmmm.)

4 large egg whites , at room temperature
115g caster sugar
115g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to fan 100C/ conventional 110C/gas 1⁄4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (meringue can stick on greaseproof paper and foil).

Tip the egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl (not plastic). Beat them until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.

Now start to add the caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. Adding the sugar slowly at this stage helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. Don't over-beat. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.

Sift a third of the icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon. Continue to sift and fold in the icing sugar a third at a time. Don't over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy, almost like a snow drift.

Scoop up a heaped dessertspoonful of the mixture. Drop them in rough rounds onto the baking sheet. Bake for 1 1⁄2-1 3⁄4 hours in a fan oven, 1 1⁄4 hours in a conventional or gas oven, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour. Leave to cool on the trays or a cooling rack. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.)

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