Meringues can look so pretty and you can have a lot of fun making them in different colours and flavours. I love the fact that they are low-FODMAP so this is a treat I can still enjoy. Meringues are also great as part of other deserts such as Eton Mess and birthday cakes.
I have to make two birthday cakes for my twins this week and wanted to make some meringues for decoration. Now that they are a bit older they don't want to share a cake so I need to make two, one for my girl in pink and one for my boy in blue - very typical!
They've seen some incredible cakes on Pinterest and now want me to simply whip up something similar....as you do. I am not particularly good at birthday cakes to begin with so making these three tiered cakes in ombre colours feels daunting to say the least. Let's hope they turn out looking reasonably ok.
Making meringues can be a bit tricky in the best of circumstances but here in Dubai it's extra hard because of the humidity right now. The meringues often turn out looking fine but once you take them out of the oven and leave them for a bit, they turn sticky. Especially if you've used a food colouring. I've worked out that the best way to keep them crispy is to leave them in the oven for a bit longer on very low heat and then turn of the oven and leave them in there over night. When they've cooled down you take them straight out of the oven and transfer them to an airtight container. You might not live in a humid climate but sometimes a rainy day can have an effect. It's definitely easier to make meringues on a dry day if you have the choice.
There are other challenges involved in making meringues so I've put together some tips on how to improve your chances at making great meringues:
1. Use a large, clean bowel made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel. Plastic is not recommended as it can hold traces of oil/fat which can effect your meringues. If your bowl feels a bit oily you can wipe it using some kitchen towel and distilled vinegar.
2. Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature. Having said that, it's easier to separate the egg whites whilst the eggs are cold. A way around this is to take the eggs out of the fridge, crack the eggs on a smooth surface (not an edge) whilst cold and separate the egg whites one by one, making sure there is not egg yolk. I would recommend cracking them individually placing the egg whites into a small bowl and then transferring them into a lager bowel so that if any egg yolk gets mixed in with one, you don't have to throw all the egg whites away. Once you've separated all the egg whites, leave them for 10-15 minutes to reach room temperature.
4. Use the right sugar and add it slowly. The finer the sugar, the easier it will be for the sugar crystals to dissolve when whipped with the egg whites. You can use regular granulated sugar, but I tend to use caster sugar as it dissolves easier and gives your meringue mix that smooth texture you want. When adding the sugar to your egg whites, do it slowly, one tablespoon at the time to make sure the sugar dissolves. This process can take around 10-15 minutes.
5. Use a stabiliser. If you want your meringues a bit sturdier you can add an acidic ingredient such as white vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar. I find this really helps and I generally choose to use vinegar.
I hope the tips together with this recipes will help you make absolutely perfect meringues :)
When firm, silky smooth peaks forms, your mix is ready to be piped out
Makes 10-30 meringues