I have always had a love-hate relationship with French meringues. I am totally in love with their fluffy consistency, but hate to make them because one out of two times I mess them up! Luckily, I discovered a very useful article where the author (an Italian chemist) reveals all the secrets for a perfect result. You would say: ‘ A chemist???’. Yup! Cause cooking is chemistry (and love, and passion, and creativity). I translated few tips from the article that will make your meringues turn amazing (read below). To obtain a different flavor I added dessiccated coconut, which can be skipped if you prefer to have your meringues the tradional way. They match perfectly with a cup of hot chocolate and some whipped cream…oh so yummy!!!
– 2 egg whites
– 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
– 1/3 cup + 1 tbs white sugar
– 2/3 cup dessiccated coconut*
– vanilla essence (optional)
- Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk on a low speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium and whisk for another 2-3 minutes, or until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Then, while continuing to whisk, gradually add the sugar and dessiccated coconut (plus vanilla essence, if desired) a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is stiff and glossy – this may take 5-10 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and preheat oven 200 F. Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip pipe the meringue into 1½-inch diameter cookies, spacing them about ½ inch apart. Bake meringues for 40-45 minutes (they don’t have to change colour becoming brown). Let the meringues cool down inside the oven, with the door slightly cracked.
Tips: To get the most volume from beaten egg whites, it’s best to start with whites at room temperature. Submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for about 5 minutes before using.
Copper, stainless-steel or glass bowls work best for making meringues. Avoid plastic bowls for whipping egg whites as they can often harbor traces of grease or fat, which prevents the whites from getting stiff.Do not add sugar before whipping the egg whites. Do not add any salt (even if some recipes call for it, just don’t!). Instead use cream of tartar or some lemon drops to obtain stiff peaks (acid components do that).