Meringues

Meringues

By
From
Margaret Fulton Favourites
Makes
50
Photographer
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

Gasparini, a Swiss pastry cook from the town of Meiringen in Switzerland, was expecting a visit from Napoleon when he created a confection using nuts, sugar and egg yolks. Not wanting to waste the egg whites, he whipped them together with sugar and shaped them into mounds, which he baked until crisp and dry and served in saucers brimming with cream. It is said Napoleon preferred the second creation and named them after the town.

When Suzanne was the pastry chef at the Cordon Bleu Restaurant in London’s Marylebone Lane, she kept tins of meringues in different shapes ready to make desserts, little cakes and petits fours at the drop of a hat. Her customers would queue down the street for them. Meringues are one of the most versatile offerings of the kitchen.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 large egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
whipped cream, for filling (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C. Brush several baking trays lightly with oil and dust with flour, or use baking paper to line the trays.
  2. Using either a freshly cleaned copper bowl with a balloon whisk or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, slowly at first, until frothy. Start to beat quickly until the peaks hold their shape. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating for 2–3 minutes. Add the remaining sugar and fold in lightly and quickly using a large metal spoon.
  3. Pipe onto the prepared trays, or shape with two spoons. Bake for 11⁄2 hours. Ease the meringues from the trays, turn over and return to oven for a further 30 minutes or until crisp, dry and a delicate beige in colour. When cool, store in an airtight container.
  4. The shells may be hollowed so that they can hold a fair proportion of whipped cream and the two halves will not slip when sandwiched together.

Piped meringue shells

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Meringues may be made bite-sized for petits fours or egg-sized for dessert. Put the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe rounds, wider at the base and spiralling each one to a peak. When the meringues are set, gently press them underneath with your finger to form a hollow, return them to the trays on their sides and return to the oven for 20–30 minutes to allow the undersides to dry. Remove from the oven and cool. Store in an airtight container until needed.

Chocolate-coated meringue fingers

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Put the meringue mixture into a piping bag and, using a plain nozzle, pipe small finger-lengths onto prepared baking trays. Bake until crisp and dry, then cool on wire racks for a few minutes. Store in an airtight container until required.
  2. To chocolate-coat one end of the meringue, have ready a small bowl with a little chocolate that has been melted gently over hot water, and a saucer of finely chopped nuts. Dip either one or both ends of the cooked meringue fingers into the chocolate, then sprinkle lightly with the nuts. Return to the rack to set the chocolate.

Shaping meringues with spoons

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. To make pretty-shaped meringues, you will need two dessertspoons, a metal spatula or palette knife, and a jug of iced water.
  2. Take a spoonful of the meringue mixture in a wet spoon and with a wet spatula quickly smooth it over, piling it in the centre and pointing the two ends to form a half-egg shape. With the second spoon, scoop the meringue out onto a prepared baking sheet. Leave a space of at least 2 cm between each meringue.
  3. Bake until they are crisp and remove from the oven. Turn each meringue over, and then make a hollow indentation in each one by pressing underneath gently with your finger. Return to the oven for a little longer to dry completely.
  4. Whip cream until thick and sweeten and flavour it if desired. Fill the meringue with the cream, putting two pieces of meringue together. Pile in paper cases on a glass or silver dish.
Tags:
Margaret
Fulton
Favourites
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