Mini Meringues…just two ingredients!
by Anna Buckley
Meringues are one of those fabulous little things that people love to eat but are often too intimidated to make for themselves. I’d always thought they were complicated and best left to those special Aunts (P, J and F) who were known for their magical powers in the kitchen. It was necessity that headed me in the direction of the meringue…A few years ago I’d been experimenting with crème Anglais and custards, using lots of egg yolks, and wondering what to do with all the whites. I would make meringues.
I dragged out the recipe books only to discover opinions on making meringues were divided…some cooks added vinegar, some cornflour… and the ratio of whites to sugar varied immensely. Eventually I thought I’d start with the most simple recipe of just whites and sugar. The first batch was, miraculously, a resounding success. I could imagine my Aunties winking, knowingly, as if I’d just discovered the secret of life and entered their most exclusive little coven! Meringues have been part of my dessert repertoire ever since.
On Easter Sunday we had a big family lunch. Instead of chocolate in the form of Easter eggs, I made a ridiculously decadent chocolate tart. It was a gorgeous piece of ‘Tart Deco Porn’ (recipe to come in a few weeks) and much more delicious than any nasty supermarket chocolate egg! It was RICH and used an obscene amount of dark chocolate, cream, and egg yolks…which of course meant left over egg whites. I put them in the fridge with very good intentions of using them later.
I’d been going through an intense writing frenzy… two, three, four thousand words a day, typing away while the ideas were hot… and then the brain melt down happened. I kept staring at the screen, re-reading the same paragraph over and over, not seeing the errors, failing to put together intelligent sentences. I needed a break… and knew the best cure would be a bit of therapeutic procrastination in the form of cooking.
I headed downstairs to the kitchen and wondered what to make. The egg whites were still in the fridge, I hate waste, and had been loathe to throw them out. They keep for ages, although sitting them next to the jar of stinky fish paste was probably pushing my luck a bit. I took them out, sniffed the glass and came to the conclusion that the whites were perfectly fine. MERINGUES, that’s what I would make. Simple and something my frazzled head could easily cope with!
4 egg whites.
1 cup of castor sugar (cane rather than beet sugar).
Set your oven to a very low 110 c. (230 f.) and be prepared to leave meringues in for at least 2 hours.
The baking of meringues is a long slow process and could take two or three hours. I know my oven really well and at this stage would be happy to pour myself a glass of Soave, plonk myself on the couch and watch crap T.V. for the next couple of hours. But if I wasn’t so sure of my oven I would keep checking every 30 minutes, adjusting temperature so as not to burn, for the next two hours at least. You know the meringues are done when they are bone dry and have turned a pale caramel pink.
Cheers, Anna x
P. S. What do you do with your left-over egg whites?
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The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion, travel, and … men.