Classic Meringue recipe
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour cooking and drying time
Makes 12 large or 32 small meringues
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 115g caster sugar
- 115g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- extra caster sugar for sprinkling, if desired
1. Only use cold egg whites straight from the fridge. It also helps to chill the mixing bowl beforehand. Even the smallest trace of fat in the bowl or trace of yolk in the egg white will stop the egg white from becoming stiff, so take care not to damage the eggs when separating them.
2. Beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Use an electric whisk first at a low speed, then at a higher speed.
3. Gradually add the lemon juice and the caster sugar. Keep beating the egg white mixture until it is very shiny and the sugar has dissolved.
4. Mix the icing sugar and cornflour; sift onto egg white mixture. Fold in using a spatula. To retain the air sealed in the mixture, do not stir.
5. Line a baking tray with baking (parchment) paper. Place the meringue mixture in a piping bag. Hold the bag upright and pipe the mixture into individual portions on the tray. When piping the mixture onto the baking tray, avoid making long peaks as these quickly go brown during the drying process.
6. Place the baking tray in a preheated oven. Immediately close the oven door. After 2–3 minutes, turn off the oven; do not open for 8 hours.
7. Remove meringues that are to be filled with cream 1 hour early from the oven. Gently make an indentation in the bottom, then return meringues to the oven to finish drying. To serve, pipe cream into a meringue shell; place a second one on top.
8. Place the meringues on a wire rack when done. They're easy to remove from the baking (parchment) paper. They should be crisp to the touch, dry inside and not browned.
Try something different …
Try piping the meringue mixture into different shapes: rosettes, rings or stars, or as wavy lines on a fruit tart. Also, the mixture can also be tinted with 1–2 drops of food colouring. The mixture turns an attractive pale brown if 1–2 tablespoons of instant coffee or cocoa powder are dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water and folded into the egg white mixture with the icing sugar and cornflour.