Foolproof Meringue Recipe – with lots of variations

Not that I am suggesting any of my readers are fools, of course, but just in case you happen to know one …

This morning I found I had a few broken meringues and also, lucky or what!, a few strawberries that needed using up so, obviously, I made myself a private portion of Eton Mess.  

No need for a recipe, it’s just crushed meringue, whipped cream and strawberries folded together.  What I am going to do, however, is give an easy, fail-proof meringue recipe. 

Simple Fail-proof Meringues ~ makes about twelve two inch meringue

Maybe I am tempting fate calling this recipe “fail-proof” but it has always worked for me and for everyone I have given it to.   However here are just a few of pointers to make sure it really works
Pin this for easy reference!  

     Rules when Making Meringues

1. For some reason older egg whites are more successfully whisked than newer ones and room temperature whites work better than cold so get them out of the fridge, if they are in there, an hour or two before using. 

      2. It is Absolutely Imperative that nothing greasy touches the egg whites.  Make sure that your bowl, whisk, hands etc. are completely grease-free.  Also, when separating the whites from the yolks ensure that no yolk at all, at all is left in the whites – yolks are greasy. 

     3. Whisk the whites till very thick, in fact the classic test is if you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue doesn’t move it’s ready.  I wouldn’t try this unless you are fairly confident.
2 egg whites
12 oz caster sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla essence
3 tablespoons boiling water
~   Preheat the oven to 110˚C/gas 1⁄4
~   Have ready one or two large baking trays lined with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
~   Put the egg whites, sugar and pure vanilla extract into a large dry grease-free bowl.
Add the boiling water and absolutely immediately whisk everything together (using grease-free whisks) till it is very thick and stands in stiff peaks when you lift out the whisk.
~   Pipe or spoon the meringue into small (about 3 cm) dollops, 2 or 3 cm apart, onto the trays (or make a single big meringue or whatever you like).
~   Bake for about 90 minutes till the meringues are crisp and dry.
~   Gently lift the meringues onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
~   Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


As if this wasn’t enough there are a few ways to vary this simple recipe, they are …

Squidgy Meringues

These have a soft marshmallowey interior, excellent for Pavolva, for instance.  All you need to do is, when the meringue is stiff, sprinkle over ½ tsp of white vinegar and 1 tsp cornflour (ie. cornstarch – not the yellow cornmeal) and fold in.  I imagine some sort of chemical reaction takes place to cause a soft middle.

Brown Sugar Meringues

A great variation is to use brown sugar in the recipe – replace half the caster sugar with soft dark brown sugar and the meringues will have slightly toffee-ish taste.  These used to be very popular in out restaurant in Cornwall where we served them with homemade clotted cream from the farm up the road.

Coffee Meringues

Dissolve four teaspoons of instant coffee granules in the hot water before adding to the egg whites or use 3 tablespoons of double strength freshly brewed coffee.  For a more intense effect and a spotty look also fold in a tablespoons of ground coffee.  Of course these are great filled with brandied whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Pink Peppercorn Meringues

These are very pretty and mildly spicy, they go well with strawberries.  A word of warning, however; pink peppercorns are banned in the USA because, I think, they are believed to cause piles (or irritation of mucous membranes as I believe it is called)!  If you are OK in the botty department just fold in a scant tablespoon of crushed pink peppercorns once the whites are thick.

Coloured  Meringues

Just add a little food colouring, of course!  Here is a picture of some dark purple meringues I made and which I folded into homemade blueberry ice cream (made using my genius ice cream recipe, of course).


Use your Imagination ...

Fold in nuts (fairly finely chopped), grated chocolate, coconut (see here for a great way to improve desiccated coconut), different flavourings instead of vanilla, um … orange zest etc.


Sashquatch said...

This is such a great post! Its great to have a basic go-to meringue recipe, let alone with such great variations too. Definitely saving this for reference and im really happy to have found your blog, its wonderful :)

Suzy - Sudden Lunch said...

Thanks for your kind words - I hope this recipe serves you as well as it has me!

sophistimom said...

Such beautiful ice cream. I love the idea of meringues in it---like a frozen Blueberry Eton Mess.

debs said...

looks divine, as for the amy winehouse tribute,were you near st austell?xx

Suzy - Sudden Lunch said...

How did you know?