- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
Preheat oven to 120°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
In a clean, dry bowl place the egg whites and the salt. Using an electric beater, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add the suger slowly, one spoonful at a time as you continue to whisk each one in until just combined. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk until the mixture is very think and glossy ( this will take approximately 2-3 minutes) At this point, there should be long think peaks when you remove the whisk or beaters.
The sugar should be dissolved into the mixture - take a pinch of the mixture and run it between your fingers, if it feels gritty, the mixture needs a little more whisking.
Drop tablespoons of the beaten mixture onto the prepared baking trays, allowing room between each for them to expand.
Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C as you place the trays in the oven and cook at this lower temperature for approx. 1 1/2 hours. To check if the meringues are cooked, tap one on the underside - it shoud sound hollow.
Once cooked, turn off the oven but allow the meringues to cool in the oven for 3-4 hours.
- Meringues may have only three ingredients, but they can be tricky to make and knowing the tricks of the trade will almost guarantee you success!
- Meringues don't like moisture so don't even think about making them in humid or rainy weather.
- Try to make meringues when there is no other cooking going on in the kitchen. Moist air is not their friend.
- Ensure that all your equipment is completely dry and free from fat (oil, butter) before you begin. An oily bowl will prevent the mixture from thickening and taking in air.
- Egg whites MUST be at room temperature. Cold egg whites are less able to expand so aren't able to take in as much air during whisking.
- Lowering the temperature of the oven will allow the shell of the meringue to set but dry the interior rather than bake it. Allowing the meringues to cool in the oven is an important last step - if you remove them too quickly, they will crack.
- If you cook meringues too quickly (on too high a heat) you will see the meringues weep beads of suger. While it's too late to fix this problem this time, you'll know for the future that your oven was too hot.
- Using an electric beater will give different results to a hand held whisk or a balloon whisk - none of them are right or wrong but you do need to keep a close eye on your mixture as you whisk it.
- If you want to make mini meringues, drop a teaspoon of mixture onto the baking trays and then bake for 45 mins.
- If you want to go fancy, try piping your mixture onto baking trays. You may have to adjust the baking time according to the size of the meringues.
- Meringues will keep for up to three weeks in an airtight container.
- This recipe was created by Ella Walsh for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best recipe finder.