I don’t know about you but after a weekend of baking I always end up with a bowl of egg whites laying around. I try to find recipes that use egg whites but at the end I make my childhood favorite – Hard Meringues!
Did you know the name meringue came from a pastry chef named Gasparini in the Swiss town of Merhrinyghen. In 1720, he created a small pastry of dried egg foam and sugar from which the simplified meringue evolved.
I don’t know why but it seems really hard to find hard meringues in the stores here, only certain stores carry it and I don’t understand why. When I was a kid in Sweden hard meringues were huge. Some of my favorite desserts have hard meringue in them. When I moved to the US I was introduced to soft meringues and I don’t like it at all, and never have a baked Alaskan due to this.
The most critical factor in making meringue is humidity. Because of its high sugar content, meringue can absorb moisture from the air and become limp and sticky.
Be sure that beaters and bowls are clean and completely free of fat or oil because the least bit of fat will prevent beaten egg whites from reaching their full volume. Use only metal or glass bowls. Plastic bowls tend to absorb fat.
Meringues only take about 5 minutes to make but it has to stay in the oven at least for 2 hours to get dry and hard. Sometimes even longer, again depends on the oven and the humidity.
Some folks add cream of tartar on vinegar to get them stiffer but I usually leave that out and get the perfect consistency anyways.
What about you, are you a hard or soft meringue person, and what do you usually do with left over egg whites? Give me some ideas. And please don’t say egg white omelet.
Yields: 12 meringue | Prep: 5 minutes | Bake: About 2 hours
3 egg whites
¾ cups sugar
Set oven to 225F. In a mixer add your egg whites and the sugar. And mix about 2-3 minutes until the eggs show high peaks. Place the eggs to your desired shape onto a cookie sheet and into the middle of the oven.
It will take about 2 hours for your meringues to harden. If they are not hard keep them in the oven until they are. The longer they are in the oven the harder and dryer they get. After about two hours they should be hard on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Meringues may be stored for several months in a tightly sealed container with waxed paper between the layers.
Recipes that will leave you with leftover egg whites: