Meringues have to be one of the most versatile sweets ever made.
Not only are they versatile, but they are also rather unique, incredibly delicious, simple to make, fat free and gluten free! What more could you ask?
If you throw in some coconut, you have macaroons, throw in ground almonds and you have French macarons, throw in some whole almonds, and you have Australian Tea Bread…you get the picture.
I used to love the large version of the meringues pictured above, when I lived in Scotland. They were massive, pure white and filled with thick, whipped cream…I can still remember the flavor of the unsweetened cream melting with the crispy, sweet meringue on my tongue! It was heaven!
I have never seen a fresh cream filled meringue in the US, and I think part of the reason not many things are sold with real fresh whipped cream because it “goes off” easily (especially in the heat) and bakeries and grocery stores don’t want to be sued for food poisoning (Scotland doesn’t have a problem with a lot of heat, unfortunately!)
But this doesn’t mean you can’t make your own cream filled meringues at home!
I made a batch of meringues and spooned and piped them into many shapes and sizes to show you just a few possibilities, but there are so many more!
My basic recipe is 1/4 cup sugar for every egg whitel. It was a little hot and humid when I made these meringues, which is not a good thing, but they still turned out okay.
- 4 egg whites (without any traces of yolk, or the meringues may not turn out)
- 1 cup or 7.5 oz sugar (caster or superfine is best)
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar (not absolutely necessary, but it helps make crisp meringues)
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean, dry and grease-free bowl.
Begin beating at high speed until soft peaks form.
Begin adding sugar 2 tbsp at a time, allowing sugar to dissolve each time. Continue beating until all sugar is used, and stiff, glossy peaks form.
Add the vanilla and mix well.
This is a stiff, glossy peak, in case you were wondering :)
Now it is time to choose what you’d like to make.
You can scoop a spoonful of the meringue mixture and push it onto the tray (lined with a Silpat or aluminum foil) with another spoon.
Or you can pipe them in different shapes onto the tray. I like these disposable pastry bags.
One way to make a meringue nest, is like this…
then, continue to pipe 3 or 4 rings around the perimeter, to form the edge.
You can also make plain meringues, like so.
If you want a smoother top, dip your finger in water and smooth it out.
I just left mine.
Change tips, and have fun!
Place the tray in a preheated 225°F oven, and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave meringues in for another 45 minutes. You can even put them in at night in the oven at the coolest setting, and leave them overnight. Meringues aren’t baked as much as they are dried.
When dried, they will look like this.
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