5 September 2011

Meringues for the Little Chefs

I was making some aioli this week and had egg whites left over, and what do you do with egg whites? Make the little chefs favourite treat - 'white cookies'. They really aren't white cookies, they're meringues, but the kids have always called them 'white cookies', so that's what they'll always be.

Meringues are easy to make, just a simple combination of sugar and egg whites. The trick is to beat the egg whites long enough for the sugar to completely dissolve, and to bake them at just the right temperature to get a blindingly white crisp hard shell and a delicate chewy texture in the middle. I baked mine on an extremely humid day (aren't they all in Doha at the moment), so cooked them for 30 minutes longer than the recipe suggests. I also like to make small meringues (about 5cm wide), but I make larger ones for dinner parties and serve them individually, loaded with freshly whipped cream and a mixture of berries.

Here I've served them with a raspberry & yoghurt puree, and fresh red currants, because that's what was in the fridge and I was too lazy to make my favourite combination - whipped cream with home-made lemon curd.

Meringues (White Cookies)
  • 4 medium egg whites (about 90 grams)
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius
  2. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they form soft peaks
  3. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition, once the last sugar is added keep beating until the egg whites are thick and glossy and form stiff peaks, and there is no 'grittyness' in the texture.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place spoonfuls on the baking paper (use two spoons, it's easier) or fill a piping bag and pipe the meringue onto the baking tray
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 100 degrees celsius, and cook for 90 minutes (about). Meringues should be crisp on top, but still white (if they start to colour during the cooking, lower the heat by 10 degrees).
  6. Turn the oven off, and leave the oven door slightly ajar, let the meringues cool completely in the oven, a few hours, or overnight to dry out. Serve with cream, yoghurt or icecream and fresh fruit.

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