French meringue

French meringue

By
From
B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself
Makes
6 (or 2 pavlova bases)

Meringue is one of those magic ingredients that always takes me back to my childhood. Whether it was the soft top of a lemon meringue pie, a fruity pavlova or an Eton mess (usually the result of a failed pavlova in our house), this simple mixture of egg whites and sugar was always something to look forward to. Now I am older, and frankly braver/more irresponsible in the kitchen, Italian meringue is one of my favourite things to make. The smooth, rich, marshmallowy delight means the empty bowl is licked until it gleams! The added bonus of Italian meringue is that, if you want to take it a step further, you can beat in butter and flavours to make Italian buttercream meringue… possibly the best three words in the language. In this small section, we’ll make French and Italian meringues. They will be enough to open up pretty much any meringue-based fun you’re looking to have.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 large egg whites
100g caster sugar

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
electric whisk, (optional)
2 baking trays
large piping bag and nozzle, (optional)
palette knife, (optional)

Method

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 120°C. Yes, really that low, as you are going to dry the meringue out rather than cook it. Next beat the egg whites with an electric whisk (or a hand whisk if you’re super-fit) until they form soft peaks.
  2. Gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat until the meringue becomes glossy and thick. The meringue is ready when you can confidently tip the bowl over your head, safe in the knowledge that you won’t get a face full of sugary egg white.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking parchment (not greaseproof paper, or the meringues will stick). Depending on what you’re intending to make, either load the meringue into a large piping bag or use a palette knife to smooth the meringue out into your desired shape. Now, one friend of mine pipes hers using a large star-shaped nozzle and different food colours to make hundreds of coloured meringue kisses out of each batch. These are awesome, and good for decorating cakes or putting in party bags.
  4. Bake in the oven for ages – easily 1½ hours, and up to 2 hours for large, thick meringues. Once done, take out and allow to cool.
  5. Release from the baking parchment by peeling the parchment off the meringues, rather than pulling the meringues off the parchment. Meringue is brittle and paper isn’t, so be careful not to crack the meringues at this stage.

Note

  • This recipe has a level 1 (beginner) difficulty.
Tags:
Great British Bake Off
Baking
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