I can’t recall the last time I ate a meringue cookie. I consider them to be old school sweets (not in a negative way) and were offered to me often as I was growing up, but I never bothered with them. I am one of those “if it’s not chocolate I can’t be bothered” type of gal, but of course as I grow up (and I tend to to that a lot lately), especially now that i am baking in my free time, my palate seems to be more “open” to new things and I have come to appreciate new/different tastes and ingredients.
Also, I’ve been seeing a lot of them lately; little meringue clouds, light and fluffy, stuffed in big beautiful jars on christening dessert tables (I’m going to be a godmother in a month, so I’ve been researching it a lot).
It just coincided that I made a dessert the other day, that required 9 egg yolks (the judge nearly had a hard attack when he saw me gathering them up and putting them on the execution table). But I was secretly making plans. I could take advantage of them in many ways. I could finally make that white omelet that my dietician has told me to eat. Or make macaroons, but the first and last time I made them was rather unsuccessful, but it was a rainy day, so let’s blame it on the weather. Since I’m not into body building (yet), I decided to use some of the whites to make meringues.
A few words about the recipe:
it’s easier to seperate eggs when they are cold
- it’s really important that the mixer and the bowl you are going to use are super clean with no signs of grease (to ensure that the egg whites reach maximum volume)
- cream of tartar is used to stabilize the egg whites and allows them to reach maximum volume
- we need the sugar to be super fine. If you can’t get hold of caster sugar, just pulse granulated sugar in your food processor.
- the sugar has to be added slowly to the whites, one tablespoon at a time, to make sure it will dissolve quickly
- bake the meringues in a low temperature oven for a long time (it took mine about 90mins), to ensure that there won’t be any moisture left in them and afterwards we are going to leave them dry in the oven with the door slightly open.
from Joy of Baking
3 large egg whites (90 grams), in room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¾ cup (150 grams) superfine or caster sugar (if you don’t have see note above)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 95⁰C και and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract. (The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.)
Pipe rounds of meringue in rows on the prepared baking sheet. Alternatively, spoon mounds of meringue, using two spoons, onto the prepared sheets. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a few shaved almonds, if desired.
Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. (The meringues will release easily from the parchment paper.) Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying several hours or overnight. The meringues can be covered and stored at room temperature for several days.
(as I am a 90’s kid, here is where I got my title from)