I’m a little obsessed with meringues at the moment, and though my technique is far from perfect – I envisage rows of uniformly pert and pretty meringues and instead end up with a higgeldy-piggeldy heap – I enjoy making them and experimenting with flavours. As this particular batch was for a gift, I opted for a classic combination of hazelnut and chocolate and made mini meringue ‘kisses’.
It’s been a hectic week – I’ve just finished my job and I’m moving house at the weekend, so it’s been packing chaos. I was also interviewed for Gourmandize – a fun new foodie website. You can read my interview here.
Anyway, in a dilemma of what to get as goodbye gifts for people at work, I decided to make a batch of mini meringues and divide them up into pretty packages – problem solved!
Like so many things, meringues are not as difficult to make as they first appear. Meringues is simply a mixture of egg white and sugar – it just needs a good beating and a long time in the oven. To start with, you whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then add the sugar a little at a time, whilst continuing to whisk. The mixture should be stiff – hold it upside down over your head and if you end up covered in it, you didn’t whisk it enough!
At this point, you can fold in any flavours and colours that you like, or just leave it plain. To get it into a piping bag without ending up in a sticky mess, it’s a good idea to put the piping bag into a tall glass or cocktail shaker and fold the edges over – it makes it really easy to get the meringue in. Then chop off the end and pipe onto a lined baking tray. That’s where my tips end, since making pretty meringues, as stated above, still evades me!
Meringues need a relatively cool oven and then need to be allowed to cool in the oven once it has been switched off. So the work time is low, but don’t plan on using the oven to make dinner half an hour later – meringues are fussy things and don’t like being disturbed.
Once cool, they can be eaten with cream or ice cream, or wrapped up and given as gifts – continuing the ‘kisses’ theme, I wrapped mine in pink tissue paper and finished with a heart-shaped tag.
Now I just need to keep practising to get them looking perfect!