I think I’ve gone a bit mad for meringues. I can’t help but get a bit excited when I find something that’s not only naturally gluten free, but really very easy to make. I say easy, but actually as I was under the supervision of the seriously talented Meringue Girls (who told me when to start and stop when whizzing up the mix in the Kitchen Aid) that may be cheating.
Recently, I was invited to spend the evening with the Meringue Girls
(the dream range cookers behind their creations), to learn just how to make their renown multi-colour desserts.
The girls started their business after pitching their idea in a competition, run by Gizzi Erksine, who was looking for a unique business venture. They went on to win. Soon business was booming and cook book offers were rolling in. What’s different about these girls is they thought out of the box. Forget your bog standard meringue nests you get in M&S, instead you can sample the likes of gin and tonic, mince pie, watermelon, lavender and coconut flavours.
Whilst baking with the girls I managed to pick up a few pointers on how to make sure your meringues don’t collapse.
1. Don’t add oily food colouring/ ingredients to the mix.
2. Bake the sugar first in the oven, before adding to the egg whites.
3. Start very slowly when whisking the egg whites, and then speed up.
4. Add the sugar very slowly to stop deflating.
5. Avoid opening and closing the oven to stop cracking.
After a quick chat and a glass (or two) of Prosecco, it was time to get down to business and see if we could re-create the meringues using the girls’ simple recipe.
Meringue Mix: Gluten-Free
Makes about 50 kisses
150g egg whites (5 eggs)
300g caster sugar
1. Start by lining a large FLAT baking tray with baking paper
2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a DEEP roasting tray with baking paper, pour in caster sugar and put it in the oven for about 5 minutes. Heating the sugar helps to create a glossy, stable mixture.
3. Meanwhile, crack the egg whites into a nonplastic bowl. Make sure your bowl and whisk are free from grease. At first whisk slowly allowing small stabilizing bubbles to form, then increase the speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
4. The sugar should be ready to take out of the oven at this point.
5. Turn your oven down to 100°C.
6. While you whisk at full speed, VERY slowly, spoon by spoon, add the hot sugar to the meringue mixture. Once you have added all of the sugar, continue to whisk on full speed for about 5 minutes. Feel a bit of the mixture between your fingers, if you can still feel the gritty sugar keep whisking at full speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, stiff and glossy.
7. Flavour your meringue girls mixture with what ever takes you fancy – i.e. cinnamon powder or coco powder – and stir in.
8. Paint stripes along the piping bag with food colouring, then spoon the mixture into your piping bag, cut the tip and start piping. Once you have piped out all your cinnamon kisses, place in the oven for 35-45 minutes.
Our festive mince pie and cinnamon meringues came out pretty well, and we finished by sprinkling edible gold glitter (to add a little festive sparkle), before tucking in with custard, crumble and more Prosecco.
After eating, I had a little nose round the kitchens which are filled with meringues in every shape, size and shade.
Hello gin and tonic…
A big thanks to Rangemaster and The Meringue Girls for such a lovely evening. If you fancy tucking into some meringues yourself and aren’t too comfortable with baking, you can buy lovely gift packs of meringues from Selfridges. To experiment with even more recipes, check out my article for About Time Magazine, which provides you with even more festive ways to enjoy these little treats.
Recipe courtesy of The Meringue Girls in partnership with Rangemaster – the world’s oldest cooker manufacturer.