Although we are a few weeks behind in our “Great British Bake Off” posts (Amelia and I got very excited when the new series started and decided to follow along with the contestant’s weekly bake offs), we couldn’t watch an episode that was all about desserts, and more importantly featured a challenge on meringue, and not join in. We were even more overjoyed about the fact that we could finally put a good use to all the egg whites that have been slowly accumulating in the fridge while testing ice cream recipes for a book that is on the drawing board. I know we cheated a little with this “Bake Off” as the actual challenge was a show stopper dessert that featured meringue layers but we
had no time for fancy layers thought it would be a great idea to give you a simple version that can easily be whipped up and served as an elegant dessert without much hassle at all.
The recipe that we used is a Nigella Lawson recipe (although most recipes are very similar) and it has never failed me. It produces a meringue that is soft and pillowy in the centre with a crispy outer shell every time… perfection!!!
Here’s the recipe:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using an electric mixer (or hand beaters) whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Very gradually add a spoon full of sugar at a time while still whisking making sure each spoonful of sugar is well incorporated before adding the next. By the time all the sugar has been added you should have a very glossy and firm mixture that holds it shape well. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold through sifted corn flour, vinegar and vanilla. Spoon the mixture onto baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving room between each meringue. Turn oven down to 150°C and cook for 30 minutes or until the meringues look crispy on the outside and have a little bit of colour.
Meringues can be served with almost anything.. we chose to eat ours with softly whipped cream (which is always a good idea as it cuts through the meringue’s intense sweetness), lemon curd and blue berries, but the possibilities are endless.
Here are some topping ideas that I’ve used before:
– Clotted cream and strawberries
– Fresh tropical fruits like mango and pineapple with toasted coconut flakes
– Passionfruit coulis
– Mixing half a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste through double cream
– Grape fruit curd
– I can never bring myself to break them up but if you have any failures or leftovers you can turn it into an eton mess.
– Chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts
– Almond praline
Let us no if you have a favourite meringue topping!