I don’t know when it started, but it becomes a habit to watch a video with my three-year-old before bed. These are… cooking videos. Some are cake making, some are cake decorating and others include savoury dishes too. These meringues are a result from watching one of the videos. Meringues are made with egg whites and sugar, whisked till stiff peak and then slow baked at low temperature to dry. Add a touch of colour and they come ALIVE and playful, they become a kid-magnet bearing lovely colourful shades and shapes.
This is only my second attempt to make meringues. The first time I made white meringue mushrooms for a cake (link here) and I was lucky to have them turned out right the first time. What I found tricky was knowing when to stop beating the egg whites. Recipes call for a stiff peak. Ok. I kept beating the egg whites until they look quite thick (obviously has increased in volumes heaps), they look shiny, but when I lift the balloon whisk, the peak is somewhat soft-looking and the tip slightly bent. I then kept beating more and after a long time, it’s still the same: thick, voluminous, shiny and slight bent at the tip. I had doubt, but thought it doesn’t get any stiffer probably due to the high sugar content. I went ahead and baked them. Luckily they turned out perfect!
This time I tried to add colour to my meringues to make them fun. A lot of meringue recipes suggested a ratio of 2 to 1 of sugar and egg whites. I opted for a slightly less sugar option (and still I find these quite sweet, I might try to reduce more sugar next time and see if meringues will be stable). This is how I made my meringues:
6 egg whites
1.5 cup castor sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- Pre-heat oven to 100 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare a double boiler. Heat egg whites and sugar over low heat while stirring until all sugar has dissolved.
- Whisk egg whites at high speed until thick, glossy with a stiff peak (although tip is still slightly bent)
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with preferred nozzle and start piping.
- For colours, split the meringues into smaller portions (number depend on the number of colours). Add colours to meringues and mix gently, taking care not to deflate all that fine air bubbles we managed to incorporated.
- Invert the piping bag inside out to about a third of the bag height. Start putting spoon by spoon of each coloured meringues side by side until it forms a layer encircling the whole bag circumference. Repeat to have the next layer on top and until all meringues are used up.
- Pipe meringues into whatever shapes and sizes you like on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake for about 1-1.5 hours. Allow the meringues to cool in the oven before taking them out. Cooked and cooled meringues will dry nicely, firm up considerably and shouldn’t be sticky upon handling. If you find them sticky after cooling, pop them back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Note: at this temperature, meringues should retain the original colours without discolouring.
There you have it, crunchy and colourful meringues!