Meringues Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Meringues

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Meringues are sweet, crunchy egg white and sugar creations. There are numerous tricky recipes around but this simple recipe is guaranteed to work - it produced delicious home-made meringues (far superior to the homogeneous shop-bought variety) every time.

Ingredients (produces 35 meringues)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar

Method

  1. Grab a couple of trays and line them with non-stick oven paper. Turn your oven on to 250°F (120°C).

  2. Stick the egg whites in the bowl of an electric beater and whizz on a medium setting until they're thoroughly frothy.

  3. Tip the cream of tartar in and turn the beaters up to their highest setting.

  4. As soon as the egg whites form stiff peaks (you can check this by stopping the beaters and lifting them out of the bowl; if the egg whites stand up in a wave, they're right) begin to add the sugar. Tip it in gradually so it has time to mix; you should get the whole lot in within five minutes or so. Once all the sugar is in, keep it whizzing for another minute and then turn off the beaters and scrape any mixture off them into the bowl.

  5. It is tempting at this point to lick the beaters. The raw meringue should have the consistency of sweet shaving cream.

  6. Now grab a couple of teaspoons and scoop out a spoonful, scraping it in a blob onto one of the trays. If you want to be posh, you can spoon it into a piping bag and pipe shapes onto your trays, however the spoon method is easier and turns out perfectly acceptable meringues.

  7. Once you've covered both trays (teaspoon-sized blobs produce 35 or more meringues), place them in the oven and cook for one hour.

  8. Turn the oven off but leave the meringues inside with the oven door open ajar - this assists in the drying-out process. If you snaffle one at this point, you'll find the inside is delightfully soft and chewy, while the outside is crisp with a nice, slightly caramelised sugar flavour. Divine.

Meringues can accompany fruit salad, ice cream, cakes and puddings, or be eaten on their own. If you make flattish blobs, two can be sandwiched together with a layer of cream, which is delicious. Also, a few drops of food colouring can be added once all the sugar is beaten in for pink or blue meringues.

It's a tremendously easy recipe, so there's no excuse not to drop everything and cook meringues right now. Bon appetit!


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