I posted a picture of John's birthday meringue the other day. They were indeed most gorgeous and gooey. I have to say that this is not a special tradition, but me being a thrifty cook. James had requested custard and banana for desert the day before, which called for 6 egg yolks, so the whites were lingering in the fridge. Normally I forget about them, or stick them in a small tub and bung them (unlabelled), in the freezer whereupon they disappear into the depths. But - the birthday was suddenly upon us (as January birthdays often are) and some kind of celebratory sweetness was in order. Meringue it just had to be. And here is the recipe. (Makes loads - I forgot to count - sorry)
Put 6 egg whites into a metal or ceramic bowl
(apparently if you let them stand for a day or two before using then they whip better)
Beat until they look foamy and cotton woolly, and stand up in soft peaks.
Then it's time to add the sugar - 300g (2 cups). I used a mixture of icing sugar and soft brown sugar (half and half), because I wanted a soft squidgy meringue.
Beat in a tablespoonful of the sugar at a time until you have a stiff, satiny mixture. See the picture? It isn't quite dropping off my whisk and is just holding it's shape.
Then put spoonfuls of the mix onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I brushed a little sunflower oil over the paper too, for some added non-stick value.
My instructions said to bake at 150 deg C (300F Gas mark 2) for 40 minutes, when they should come away easily from the baking sheet. Cool on a wire rack. They will be a beautiful pale golden brown colour.
I would say that they were just a wee bit softer than I wanted. Next time I would bake them for a shade longer - maybe 5 or 10 minutes. Still wonderfully fudgy and melt in the mouth delicious though. And James has just suddenly appeared from outside. How did he know they were ready? He takes his chief taster role very seriously.
Looks like it passes the test, but he rushes back out again, as an important construction project is in progress in the garden.
Anyway, when cool, sandwich two halves together with some whipped cream, or melted chocolate or both. Add fruit if you like, but whatever you do, savour that exquisite moment when you bite through the crisp shell and reach the melting gooey interior - just sublime...
I am thinking of doing a regular weekly recipe slot. I was asked by a lovely commenter if I had a particular recipe and when I looked through my grandmother's notebooks, I found it. Unfortunately I realised that these precious notebooks are beginning to fade and fall apart, so in the hope of saving these treasured recipes, I plan to begin a Granny's Kitchen Notebook series next week. What do you think? Would you like to see that? It will be mostly sweet things - cakes etc, as my Gran was a skilled baker, but I think I can struggle through... virtual calories don't really count, after all... #fact :-)