‘Tis the season of pumpkin, mincemeat, cranberries, and mixed peel. But as a flavour respite to all that heavy, spicy goodness, a lighter delight— the resplendent meringue.
It’s a heavenly golden cloud of a confection that is at once sweet, yet subtle. It has a crisp outer shell, a somewhat chewy centre, and a melt-in-your-mouth marvellousness everywhere else. And the best part? You can make them yourself. In fact, they are really very easy. But of course, you don’t need to tell anyone that. You can just enjoy the look of astonishment and delight when you serve them.
The recipe comes from Butter Celebrates. This book, and the earlier, Butter Baked Goods, are two of my favourite and most-used cookbooks.
If you live in Vancouver, you’ve likely been to Butter Baked Goods & Cafe. Maddeningly, last time I was in the city, I drove past it a couple of times en route to elsewhere but with no time to stop. Next time.
Don’t you just love the pistachio-coloured ribbon bookmark? So Rosie. (Does anyone else remember Tada?)
So before the seasonal baking madness begins, whip up some meringues.
No butter required.
5 egg whites
1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1⁄4 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, return the mixer to high speed and whip until nice and shiny stiff peaks form. I test this by sticking my spatula in the egg whites and quickly pulling it out. (Switch off the mixer first!) When I hold the spatula upright, the meringue should hold a stiff peak.
3. Once you have stiff peaks, turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla and beat to combine.
Note: You can use a piping bag to make meringue booties, kisses, Christmas trees, or whatever shape you want. Alternately, you can use a soup spoon to scoop large, free-form meringues.
4. Bake the meringues for 1 hour, or until the outside of the meringue is crisp. Turn the oven off (crack open the door) and allow the meringues to stay in the oven for several hours, or overnight.
Note: Now you can enjoy a simple and divine dessert, or you can get creative with icing or melted chocolate.
The meringues will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Do not refrigerate.
Recipe from Butter Celebrates!: A Year of Sweet Recipes with Family and Friends by Rosie Daykin, Random House, 2015.