I’m fairly certain you are going to L O V E this recipe for three reasons.
- They are super simple (yet look complicated) to make
- They are low fat (yes, you heard me right)
- They are simply beautiful
Today, I am going to teach you how to make perfect meringues. Making meringues is probably one of the things that can strike fear into even the most seasoned pastry chefs, and yes, they can be a bit tricky and a bit temperamental. But, if you follow these easy tips, there is no reason why you can’t be a great meringue maker.
So? Ready to tackle these with me?
Step number one:
Always make sure your beaters and bowls are SUPER clean and grease free. Always use a whisk attachment if you have a stand mixer.
Step number two:
Making meringues is a process that cannot be rushed, so patience is going to be a virtue here.
Step number three:
Always use room temperature egg whites. Here’s a tip – if you happen to be in the meringue making mood and forgot to take out your eggs ahead of time, you can always bring your eggs to room temperature in a jiffy by placing them into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. NOT HOT WATER or you will cook your eggs. Also, don’t use fresh eggs. Eggs should be at least one week old in order to give you maximum volume when you beat them. Trust me on this, it’s true.
Step number four:
Don’t get “all anxious” and turn your beaters on full steam. Always start on low speed and slowly beat, until the egg whites start to look opaque, then kick it up to a medium speed. Here’s why – An egg white contains chains of proteins that need to stretch slowly so they trap optimum air. If you beat them too fast, you risk snapping some of the chains permanently, making an unstable foam that’s likely to collapse when you add the sugar. Continue to whisk at medium speed, until they double in volume and resemble a white fluffy cloud. I love fluffy clouds, don’t you?
Step number five:
Only after they reach the fluffy cloud stage, do you start to adding in your sugar. Once again, turn you mixer down to a lower speed. The majority of time, I use caster sugar, which really is just super fine granulated sugar. This sugar is absolutely THE BEST for ensuring a stable mixture, creates a crisp shell on the outside and a soft inside in the meringues. Now, what happens iIf you don’t have caster sugar? Easy. You can make your own by using regular granulated sugar in a food processor and whirring it around until it’s super fine. Or there is another sugar option – see step six.
Step number six:
Always add the sugar a little bit at a time while you continue to beat the egg whites. I usually add it by spoonfuls to give it a chance to melt into the egg whites. And now that I have told you all about how wonderful caster sugar is in meringues, I ‘m going to let you in on a little secret. I ran out of sugar all together (don’t ask me how that happened because I have no clue). Instead, I subbed in powdered sugar and guess what? They came out absolutely DIVINE. In fact, I didn’t miss the caster sugar at all in these meringues.
Step number seven: Cream of Tartar. And no, this isn’t the stuff you put on your Filet O’ Fish. That’s tartar sauce for goodness sakes. What exactly is C.O.T.? It’s best known for stabilizing egg whites while you are whipping them. Adding a pinch of cream of tartar while the whites are being whipped will strengthen the matrix of bubbles and help prevent the egg foam from collapsing too quickly. It will also help to increase the volume of the egg foam and keeps them bright and white. Cream of tartar is just one of those magical ingredients that create the “perfect meringue”.
Step number eight:
The baking process is low and slow. I set my oven to 210F to allow the meringues to bake without browning. They should be very light in colour with very little tanning on the bottoms. Never ever, ever, ever bake your meringues at a high temperature. Making meringues is a two step process – baking at low heat and then drying them in the oven with the heat turned off. This will guarantee a wonderful meringue every time.
That just about sums it up and don’t be afraid of all those steps. They are the easiest thing in the world to make.
A beautiful dessert, simple, light, crisp, sweet airiness in every bite . . .
- 4 large egg whites, (room temperature)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon extract (I used pure lemon)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (Note - you can sub in lemon juice for Passover unless you can’t find KFP cream of tarter)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Peach or Pink gel food coloring optional
- Preheat oven to 210F. (Note: if you have a convection oven use that mode if not don’t worry). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace 2 inch circles onto the parchment paper. Your roses will be equal in size doing this step. If you are a piping rockstar no need for the tracing step.
- Beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, extract and food coloring until frothy. With mixer running, slowly add powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks have formed.
- Fit pastry bag with a large star tip (I use a Wilton 1M). Fill pastry bag with mixture. Pipe round roses on lined baking sheet by piping 2 inch spirals starting from the center and rotating outwards.
- Bake for 1 -1/2 hours. Turn off oven and open door. Let meringues dry in the oven for another hour or two. Remove from oven and let cool.