Meringues. I love meringues. There are those crispy ones, and there are those crispy-outside-chewy-inside ones. There are light brown ones, coloured ones, and plain white ones. I love them all.
Actually, not all. I am not very fond of those meringues found in bakeries and shops. They do look pretty but they are wayyyyyy too sweet for me. I love sweets but I do have my boundaries haha.
The last couple of times I made meringue were for when my daughter wanted to give away meringue ghosts for Halloween this year, and for my husband’s birthday dinner with family. My niece Alex and nephew Karl couldn’t stop hoarding them — yes, if you are both reading this, I know how much you loved them.
So here is my meringue recipe:
4 extra jumbo sized eggs (you will only use the whites — each whole egg I use weigh about 68 – 70 grams so if your eggs are small, you have to adjust)
1 cup caster sugar (this dissolves easier than the normal sugar but if you only have regular white sugar, go on and use that)
2 teaspoons cornflour, sifted
large pinch of salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
drops of food colouring if you are colouring your meringue (I only use colour gel and not the liquid ones because the latter ones to me taste bitter)
What you need to do:
Preheat your oven to 90 – 100 deg C. Yep, low, very low heat. The thing with meringues is that you are not actually “cooking” them, but drying them out until they crisp.
Line about 2 baking trays with wax paper and set them aside.
In a clean bowl (make sure it is clean and has no trace of oil or yolk or butter at all — I only use metal or glass mixing bowls for meringues because fat doesn’t stay as easily as on plastic ones), place your egg whites (make sure there are no traces at all of egg yolks!). What to do with your egg yolks? You can make leche flan or crème brulee (I have a simple recipe here somewhere).
Using a beater, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar a little a time and continue beating until the sugar dissolves, adding the salt as it is beating. You can add your colouring at this point if you are using any. You are done when the meringue forms stiff peaks. By stiff, I mean when you lift your beaters from the meringue, peaks will form that do not curl back downwards. Add the cornflour and the vinegar and whisk just until combined.
You can either pipe the meringues on your wax paper lined baking trays, or scoop them up with a spoon for a free form meringue. Make sure you have spaces in between to allow even cooking. Bake for wait for it….. 2 1/2 hours, yes that long 🙂 Because you want them to dry out. After the 2 1/2 hours is up, turn off the heat, but leave them inside the oven for another wait for it… 3 hours or overnight. Lol. Now I know why most bakeries have meringues. They probably do them last and leave them in the oven the whole night.
When you get them from the oven, they should not be sticking on the paper. Important: meringues absorb moisture from the air that’s why most of them time they get sticky after a while. The trick is to keep them in airtight containers. The ones on the shelves of the bakeries, I don’t know how they keep them from getting sticky but I suspect they put powdered sugar in their mixture, lots of it. That’s just me.
You can serve your meringues as is, or sandwiched together with buttercream. If you are making ghost meringues you can either melt some chocolate and pipe dots for the eyes after the meringues are cooked, or put colored baking candy for eyes just before baking. Pack individually in food grade transparent plastic bags and seal.