This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to post for weeks – I’m not quite sure why it’s taken me so long to get around to it!
Back in January, I arrived home from our skiing trip to a brilliant belated birthday present from my friend Cat – the Meringue Girls Cookbook! Their tagline is “Incredible Meringues Everyone Can Make” and it’s true – I have to say, their recipes and instructions are great. The book is really well laid out with a very clear step by step guide on how to make their standard mixture, then from there you can add in whatever you like.
In anticipation of an afternoon of meringue baking, I had been to Lakeland (possibly my favourite shop ever – does anybody else get a little over-excited about this store?!) and bought some pink and yellow gel colouring and raspberry and banana flavouring.
Meringues are one of those things which tend to go wrong very easily – there are so many stages at which you can make a mistake, but the cookbook provides helpful guidance for even the complete amateur.
And I have to say, I think the raspberry ones in particular turned out pretty professional looking!
After making the mixture, I split it into two. I added the raspberry and pink colouring to one batch and the yellow and banana to the other. I piped the raspberry out first and baked it and left the banana batch in the bowl until I was ready to go. This meant that the mixture was left to rest for about half an hour, and although they didn’t suffer in the taste department, the raw mixture did lose a bit of its shape and was runnier. So, my advice would be pipe it and get it in the oven asap for professional looking meringues!
Here’s how I made them…
150g egg whites (I used Two Chicks egg whites – these come in a carton so you don’t have a load of yolks left over. You can buy them from most large supermarkets)
300g caster sugar
5 drops raspberry flavouring
5 drops banana flavouring
A very small amount of pink and yellow colouring gel – I scooped a little in of each with a toothpick
Some mini marshmallows
— Line two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Taking one of the baking sheets, pour the caster sugar on and distribute evenly. Put this into the oven to heat the sugar whilst you’re whisking your eggs whites – this should take no longer than 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it as it can turn quickly.
— Measure the egg whites into your KitchenAid bowl (you can also use a hand held electric whisk, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this by hand unless you want muscles of steel!). Using the whisk attachment, whisk slowly, then increase the speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks, and you can do the old trick of turning the bowl over your head without getting covered. Be careful not to over-whisk the mixture and stop before it begins to look like cotton wool.
— By now, the sugar should be done. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 100 degrees.
— Start the mixer up again at full speed, and slowly, a spoonful at a time, add a big tablespoon of sugar, allowing it to become incorporated before adding the next. Continue until all the sugar has been added (don’t add any bits which have caramelised). Once all the sugar is added, whisk on full speed for around 5 minutes. The mixture should be smooth and glossy and not feel gritty – keep going if it does. It will be ready when it forms a shiny peak on your finger.
— This is the point at which I split my mixture. I would only recommend doing this if you are able to bake the whole lot at once, otherwise, as I said above, the second batch may come out looking a little different to the first! To half the mixture I added the raspberry flavouring and a spot of two of the pink food colouring, and the same with the yellow and banana to the other half. A little swirl of the colouring is all you need.
— I then transferred the raspberry mixture into a disposable piping bag with one of my trusty Wilton piping nozzles, and piped my kisses. I tried to get them as even as possible – around 3cm in diameter. For the banana batch, I placed mini marshmallows on the baking tray and piped the meringue over them, as a little surprise for when you bite into them!
— Into the oven the went for half an hour. You know they’re doe when they’re firm to the touch and lift easily and cleanly off the baking paper.
— Leave to cool then box up to give as gifts, serve with tea, or take to work as I did!
Thanks Cat for a great present – I’ll be a Meringue Queen soon!