Meringue Girls Mixture
Our meringue to sugar ratio is very easy to remember - it is double the amount of sugar to egg whites. A medium egg white weighs 30g - so use 60g of caster sugar per egg. Always weigh your whites as eggs vary in size.
|150g||free-range egg whites (5 medium eggs)|
You will need a free-standing mixer bowl, or a non-plastic bowl,
Start by lining a large baking sheet with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Line a roasting tray with baking paper, pour in the caster sugar and put in the oven for about 5 minutes until the edges are just beginning to melt. Heating the sugar will help it dissolve in the egg whites more quickly to create a glossy, stable mixture.
Meanwhile, weigh your egg whites in your free-standing mixer bowl, or a non-plastic bowl. Make sure your bowl and whisk are free from grease. Whisk slowly at first, allowing small stabilising bubbles to form, then increase the speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks, and the bowl can be tipped upside down without the egg falling out.
Keep an eye on the mixture and stop whisking just before it turns into a cotton woolly appearance, at which point the mixture will be over-whisked and will have lost some of its elasticity in the egg white protein.
At this point, the sugar should be ready to take out of the oven. Turn your oven down to 100°C/gas Va. Leave the door ajar to speed up the cooling.
With the whites stiff and while whisking again at full speed, add one big tablespoon of the hot sugar after another to the meringue mixture, ensuring that it comes back up to stiff peaks after each spoonful of sugar. Don’t worry about any small clumps of sugar, but avoid any larger chunks of caremelized sugar from the edges of the roasting tray.
Once you have added all of the sugar, continue to whisk on full speed for about 5–7 minutes. Feel a bit of the mixture between your fingers, and if you can still feel the gritty sugar, keep whisking at full speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, and the bowl is a little cooler to the touch. The mixture will continue to thicken up during this stage. You know when it is ready to use when it forms a nice smooth, shiny peak on the tip of your upturned finger.
Once you have assembled your meringues in your desired shapes and sizes on a baking tray lined with baking paper (leaving a couple of centimetres between each shape), they will bake in an oven set to 100°C/gas ¼.
Bite-sized kisses should be baked for approximately 30–40 minutes. Take them out of the oven as soon as they easily lift off the baking paper with their bases intact.
For larger meringues (like nests), bake for 2 hours, or if you are doing even larger pavlovas, bake for 3 hours. (You can turn the oven off and leave for a few more hours or overnight if you want them to dry out further.)
When the meringues are cooked, leave them to cool on the baking sheet.
These will keep well for 2 weeks, covered with cling film or placed in an airtight container and stored in a cool, dry place.