I am definitely a “meringue” girl … and I love my meringues crisp on the outside, with a slight chew in the middle. Usually I make my meringue as a Pavlova (see here), but some years ago I had taken a copy of a recipe from an Italian website (see here … they do everything so perfectly!!!), and have been meaning to make these ever since but never got to it. But now I have.
The trick to getting a really crisp finish to any meringue is lots of sugar! I know these days that is not the done thing, but there is no getting away from the fact that sugar is what gives you a thick yummy crust. And that is what you have in these mini meringues. So to get the right crispness you need to use three times the weight of sugar to the egg whites (i.e. 120g egg whites = 360g sugar).
To dampen the sweetness I used a mix of golden caster sugar and light muscovado sugar, and all I can say is my husband Bryan loves them, and he doesn’t like anything “sugary”. So for the infrequent times that you will make these, accept that there is more sugar in them than a normal “pavlova” (which usually has 55g sugar for every egg white), and enjoy them for the small crisp delight that they are.
Whenever working with meringue it is always important that your bowl and butterfly are squeaky clean so do a vinegar clean before you start. To do a vinegar clean simply add 1 litre water and 30g vinegar to your TM bowl, and heat 10 minutes x Veroma x speed 2. Rinse out the bowl in cold water and ensure it is dry before commencing recipe.
I always have spare egg whites in the freezer so when making meringue I take them out the night before and leave them on the bench overnight to defrost (freezing the egg whites “ages” them). If you don’t have any egg whites in the freezer, then separate eggs a day before you start (think about making some mayo, custard or ice-cream with the yolks), and leave the whites covered in a container at room temperature … this will help to “age” the whites before you start beating (you get more volume from “aged” whites).
These meringues are fabulous to eat just as they are, but I have also been using them in parfait glasses as a type of Eton Mess but without the cream by using:
- a small layer of lemon curd on the base (see here), followed by
- a small layer of raspberry curd (see here), then
- a small amount of meringues sliced into pieces, topped with
- a couple of spoonfuls of roasted mixed berries (see here),
- a sprinkle of maple roasted pecans (see here), and
- a final sprinkle of more meringue slices
… and these desserts have been a huge hit! Before guests arrive I place the lemon curd, raspberry curd, and chopped meringue in the glasses and store into the fridge. Then before serving I simply top with the mixed baked berries, pecans and extra meringue … nothing could be easier.
Oven temperatures can vary greatly and I have found the 120 degree temperature (fan forced) to be perfect … if your oven runs “hot” then consider reducing the temperature accordingly.
And as a final tip I always bake meringue and pavlova in the evening so that I can leave them overnight in the oven to dry out and cool completely.
These meringyes will keep in a sealed container in your pantry for at least two weeks … after this time they will soften ever so slightly but still retain that nice crisp “chew” in the middle … almost like nougat!
- 180g golden caster sugar, or plain caster sugar
- 180g light muscovado sugar, or brown sugar
- 120g egg whites (approximately 3 to 4)
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper
- Place both sugars into TM bowl and mill 10 seconds / speed 10
- Wait 20 seconds for the “dust” to settle from the milling of the sugar, then lift lid, scrape around bowl, remove sugar dust from the top of the blade, and insert butterfly
- Add egg whites and cream of tartar to the sugar and heat 7 minutes / 37 degrees / speed 2 / no MC
- Remove lid from TM bowl and place bowl into the fridge for 20 minutes to allow mix to cool (set a timer)
- Turn oven on to 120 degrees fan forced, and place rack into middle of oven
- If you are going to pipe your meringues, then place your tip (I used a size 13 star nozzle, but use whatever you prefer) into your piping bag, and sit the bag in a large jug (or other container of choice) ready to receive the meringue when it is done
- If you don’t have an icing bag you can also use two long handled teaspoons
- After 20 minutes, return TM bowl from the fridge to the carousel and continue to mix 7 minutes / no heat / speed 2 / no MC, adding the vanilla bean paste through the hole in the lid in the last 30 seconds
- Place mixture into the icing bag (if using) and pipe as many small meringues as you can depending on the size you are after (ensure you leave a 3cm space between each meringue for expansion in the oven)
- Alternatively, use two long handled teaspoons to dollop the mix onto your tray
- Place tray into oven and bake for one hour, switch off oven and allow meringues to cool in the oven for at least three hours, but preferably overnight
- Next morning remove tray from oven and store meringues in a sealed container for up to two weeks