Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Mon 28 July 2008

I appreciate that this may be rather like teaching one's grandmother to suck eggs, but the newest toy in the Eating Leeds' batterie de cuisine is a shiny, eggshell blue (and very heavy) KitchenAid Artisan.

Of course, it had to be tried out immediately, and luckily there was a single egg white left over from a batch of brownie baking on the weekend ... and Andy loves meringue and I've never made him one. Not a single one, let alone a whiff of pavlova or lemon meringue pie ...

The real secret with meringues is to let them dry out rather than cook them. To this end, preheat your oven to just 100°C.

So, having acquired your egg white*, weigh out 50g of caster sugar. There are many ways to ensure good egg white whipping and on this occasion I used a pinch of salt. Marcus Wareing (in How To Cook The Perfect ...) directs you to rub a cut lemon over the entire surface of the bowl. Other people will use a pinch of Cream of Tartar, or a drop of lemon juice. The most important thing is that your bowl and whisk are clean and dry.

All of that sorted, egg white in bowl with a teaspoon of the sugar, and begin whisking. Start slowly and build up the speed. When the white has reached soft peaks, keep whisking, adding the sugar a generous teaspoonful (or so) at a time. When you're at stiff peaks - you're done.

Shape your meringue how you please. I used tablespoons to make quenelles, but you could use a piping bag, or just drop spoonfuls of meringue on a tray lined with baking paper.

Place in the warm oven for an hour, and then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in for as long as possible. This way, they'll dry out but should still retain a gooey, chewy sticky centre. Ours did! Also, because the temperature is so low, they'll stay gloriously white.

We just ate them. But, if you have some cream or mascarpone and some fresh fruit lying around, you could coarsely crush them and make yourself some Eton Mess. It may just contribute to your five a day ...

*I've read horror stories about people trying to make meringue with pasteurised egg white (whatever that is) and sugar substitutes. DON'T DO IT! It's a meringue - it's a pudding - it's NOT MEANT TO BE HEALTHY.

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