Sunday, July 3, 2011
There's something about meringues that gets me. Maybe it's how they come together like that chemistry experiment I wish I'd learned in high school. (We made soap instead. Ick.) Or how their flavour perfectly suits tangy passionfruit and creamy Greek yogurt. Or how you bite into them like air ... only to find a satisfying chewiness in the centre.
20 min prep + 45 min baking + 30 min cooling
4 organic eggwhites*, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp red wine vinegar
the pulp of 3 passionfruits, to serve
a large tub of Greek or honey yogurt, to serve
*Save your egg yolks for cookies or ice cream or omelettes or fried rice!
**Try to use organic ingredients when you can - especially for the eggs. The vanilla and vinegar you can actually make yourself!
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (360F). Line a baking tray with paper.
2. Making meringues is all about the process. A lot of people get stressed out by meringues or pavlovas - and you don't have to. Honestly, I'm not the most precise of cooks ... and I've only ever had one meringue not turn out. And that one just wasn't pretty. I crumpled it up and made it into a parfait and it tasted great. So have no fear ... this is simpler than you imagine! (Delia Smith has lovely photos of some of the key steps here)
3. Place your eggwhites into a large bowl, making sure there's no yolk. Use a hand mixer to start whisking them - then, when they become shiny and form stiff little peaks, begin adding the sugar. Slowly! Just a couple Tbs at a time ... you don't have to measure, just pour in and keep whisking little by little. When you've mixed in all the sugar, keep whisking for another couple of minutes until the meringue mix is thick and makes nice sturdy peaks.
4. Now, use a spoon to gently mix the vanilla and vinegar into your meringue.
5. Dollop the meringue onto your baking sheet in little mounds. Try to make ~12 mounds of about the same size (or you can make one big one, if you prefer). Put your tray into the oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 120C (240F) and cook for ~45-50 minutes, or until they're golden and the outsides are crispy. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool. (If you're patient enough ... I've taken them out and they've been fine)
6. When they're cool, serve with your favourite fruit - like passionfruit or raspberries - and your favourite cream or yogurt. If they aren't pretty? Crumble them up and serve them parfait-style.
My organic meringues cost me only about $0.50 each, fully dressed. I made my own vanilla extract and vinegar, and the passionfruits came from a friend's garden.
The bowl was $3 at a thrift shop - I love its simple, elegant design. (You can find more thrifty goodies here!)
Go on. Get yourself some eggwhites and whisk.