One particularly grey day this week I was in the mood for something to remind me of the summer. My mind went instantly to crisp, yet fluffy and chewy in the centre lemon meringues.
Served up with some whipped cream and strawberries these would be deliciously perfect.
Unfortunately for me, I did not have any strawberries or cream. I did however have all the ingredients to make the meringues which are just as yummy by themselves (the other half ate about 15 in one sitting whilst playing on the playstation!)
You need very few ingredients to make these meringues:
Egg whites, sugar and lemon zest.
Told you. The basic thing you need to remember when baking these is to use a 1:2 ratio of egg whites and sugar – so you will need to weigh your egg whites. An electronic scale is certainly best for this.
To make about 25/30 kisses You need:
- 2 Egg whites approx. 62g
- 125g Caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
Start by pre-heating your oven to 200°c.
Whist this is heating up, thoroughly cleaning your bowl. This is really important as if your bowl is not completely clean your egg whites will split.
Take a wedge of lemon or any other citrus fruit and wipe the inside of your bowl – flesh side down. Then take a piece of kitchen towel and give it a good wipe so you can check that any grease or residue has been removed.
Next separate your eggs. Be really careful not to get any yolk or shell into your whites otherwise they will not become firm when whisked.
Next, start to whisk your eggs using either a stand-mixer with whisk attachment or a hand mixer.
Start the whisk slowly until the stabilizing bubbles have formed – then up the speed. You will need to whisk for between 5 – 7 minutes until stiff peaks have formed.
Whilst whisking your eggs you need to heat your sugar. This will allow the meringue to be glossy but still have a crunch. Unlike Italian meringue, we are not melting the sugar, we just want it hot.
To do this, pour your sugar onto a tray lined with baking parchment. Shake it to create a thin layer. Place this in the centre of the oven for around 3-5 minutes or until the sugar has started to caramelise on the edges.
Be really careful not to over caramelise as this will leave your meringues with crunchy lumps of sugar in them!
Reduce the oven temperature to 100°c
Grate your lemon zest and add this to the hot sugar. If you wanted to make these plain, simply leave this step out.
Now it should be time to check your egg whites are ready. You best way to do this is to hold the bowl upside down and they shouldn’t move. If you’re feeling daring, hold the bowl over your head – I promise you won’t look too crazy, providing you’ve whisked them well enough!
Whilst whisking, add your hot sugar to the egg whites. Be careful here as the sugar will be HOT, granted it won’t be quite as hot as melted sugar, never-the-less I do not recommend it on your skin so be careful.
Keep whisking for around 5-7 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Check it has by rubbing a little bit of the mixture between your fingers.
Look at how delicious is looks already… try really hard to resist the temptation to just eat a spoonful!
To add colour to your meringues you can either colour your mixture, or alternatively paint stripes on the inside of your piping bag with food colouring.
This looks better with darker colours as the yellow was far too pale once they were baked.
Spoon your meringue into your piping bag making sure it is all the way down to the bottom with no air holes inside the bag.
I used a wide star-shaped nozzle inside my bag, you do not need to do this however. You can simply cut a hole in your piping bag for rounded kisses.
Prepare a large baking sheet with baking parchment/greaseproof paper.
Hold the bag about an inch from your baking sheet and gently squeeze from the top of the bag. This will allow the ‘kiss’ to drop and create a longer shape. Stop squeezing and pull away the bag to create a nice pointed peak on the top.
Place your meringues in the centre of your oven for 25-30 minutes until they are crunchy on outside yet still chewy in the centre.
Here I have used purple and just cut off the end of my bag so that you can see the difference – darker colours definately look more effective!
Any questions or comments feel free to write them below – Happy Baking!
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