Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Do Meringues Sting?

Fanny cautions me that Meringues are vulnerable to humidity, so is today, the hottest day Edinburgh has seen for a while, the best time to strive for my next Golden Thread lesson? Actually, this seems to be my final 'basic' - so if I follow Fanny's steer (and dare I not?) I should have Swiss Roll, Mayonnaise, Soufflé and Meringues under my belt. How handy. Even more handy, Fanny tells us that a 'very fine chef' who happens to be a friend of hers, naturally, is sharing this fool-proof recipe to dispel any silly old wives tales about meringues being 'hit and miss'... This must be the sting she mentions...

The ingredients are basic - egg whites and caster sugar - but Fanny suggests some simple tricks to fancy it up, flavouring the meringues with cocoa powder and chocolate chips. I wonder what she'd reckon to me using a couple of thoroughly modern takes on these basics? Feeling brave, I reach for my Two Chicks Egg Whites and Little Pod Pure Chocolate Extract. Am I headed for trouble?

Fanny doesn't suggest any 'usual' additions like cornflour or vinegar, and as before it doesn't feel quite right to me to 'miss them out' but I am learning to trust Fanny completely... So I whisk up my egg whites to stiff peaks, add 2oz caster sugar and whisk for EXACTLY three minutes and then gently fold in another 6oz of caster sugar. 

My oven is ready at 130 centigrade. Fanny says I should just 'blob' the mixture onto my baking trays, but her picture features wonderfully piped creations and shapes... Perhaps this is for those already fluent in Fanny's meringues, but I give it a go anyway. Rebel, eh? Blobbing just doesn't seem 'me'.

I add a few teaspoons of chocolate essence to the final third of the mixture, just to see, with a few chocolate chips and even decide to 'blob' some of them after all... Ok, not quite so rebellious I know... Fanny is watching and I mustn't misbehave...

Fanny tells me, as usual, that if I follow her instructions I simply cannot go wrong. So, after the allotted 55 minutes of drying ('meringues do NOT need actual cooking') I am again relieved to see some very light, very crisp perfect looking meringues. Just like Fanny's. Ahem.


  1. I like the idea of putting chocolate chips in the meringues - the look beautiful - and I agree, piped meringues are so much better than blobs!

  2. Thanks Emma, the chocolate chips worked a treat! I enjoyed the piping more, including eating the piped ones ;-)

  3. I have just had a Pavlova disaster - two 8 inch discs of meringue, crisp on the outside but RAW in the middle. I have made hundreds of meringues over the years and never and a problem until tonight. As a result I am looking for advice and have, inevitably, turned to Fanny! The recipe calls for 8 egg whites (I also use Two Chicks) and the usual 2oz of caster sugar per egg white. I read Fanny's method and was a little surprised to see that she FOLDS IN the majority of the sugar. I am intending to add two tablespoons of sifted cocoa powder and a tsp of vanilla to this mix and divide into 2 x 8 inch discs. I see you used a Kitchen Aid to whisk yours. I have a Kenwood Chef and have ALWAYS mixed meringues on max speed both before and after adding the sugar. Delia Smith suggests slower speed, as does the Kenwood recipe book - 50% slower. Can I please ask your advice on this and also, given I am making an 8 egg white mixture and 16 oz of sugar, what proportion of sugar do you suggest I whisk in? Also, there are wildly different suggestions of oven temp, from 70C left in the over overnight upwards to as hot as 150C. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you.