This is not the first time I share a meringue recipe, nor it will be the last. I simply adore whipping these ineffably light and perfectly crunchy nuggets, and I find that they are so versatile they can be paired with most ingredients. Think chocolate, coffee powder, matcha, flaked almonds, pomegranate, or, in this case a little kiss of raspberry jam. Some of you have confided in me and confessed their profound fear of whipped egg whites, but let me assure you, meringues (or spumini, as we call them in Italy) are super easy to make and 100% fail-proof if you follow some meringue-addict tips:
1. Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature
2. Mix them in a clean and dry bowl
3. Add a pinch of salt to encourage the frothing action
4. Don’t over whip
5. Weigh the egg whites (I know, a little bit of a pain in the neck, but well worth it)
6. Be patient, bake them in a really slow oven to keep their pristine white shells
7. Store your cooked meringues in an airtight container for up to 7 days (less in very hot and humid weather)
Off you go!
INGREDIENTS, makes 20-24 mini meringues
100 g (just over 1/3 cup) egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt flakes
75 g icing sugar (1/3 cup), sifted (icing sugar is the same as confectioner sugar or powdered sugar)
75 g (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice or cream of tartar
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
Rasperries and cream for serving, optional
1. Preheat your oven to 100°C (212 F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. In a large, clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until frothy and very soft peaks start to form. I always do this do with hand-held electric beaters on low speed as it gets the job done in 90 seconds, with no sore wrist. But feel free to do it by hand if you missed a day at the gym and need to burn off some calories. Gradually increase the speed of your beaters (or your biceps) to medium and start adding the icing sugar then, slowly, the caster sugar. Keep beating for 1–2 minutes (or 5–6 minutes by hand) or until the egg whites are shiny, smooth and stiff.
3. Add the lemon juice or cream of tartar and gently fold it in with a metal spoon, taking care not to beat the air out of the meringue mixture. These few drops of acid will neutralise the eggy flavour that meringue can have, and will also keep them stable and preserve their crisp whiteness.
4. Swirl the jam in. Don’t over mix! You want the jam to stain the white meringue mixture, not to tint it.
5. Dollop teaspoons (or pipe, if you like) of the mixture onto the baking tray, about 2 cm apart to allow for spreading.
6. Gently place the tray in the oven and bake for 1- 1/2 hours. If they start to colour, turn the heat down to 80°C (175 F). You know the meringues are cooked through when the base is touch-dry. Open the oven door and leave to cool with the door open for 1 hour.
7. Serve as they are or sandwich with cream and enjoy with fresh raspberries. The cooled meringue will keep fresh for up to 1 week (less it it’s very humid) stored in an air tight container.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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