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Homemade Meringues

March 13, 2011

In February, I stayed at the Hotel Royal in Geneva for a week for business. At this particular hotel, the reception desk boasted three glass jars filled with meringues, madeleines, and marshmallows. It was terrible. I was constantly having to come up with excuses to go to the reception desk. Also, I had to ask Alex to bring an alternate pair of jeans with him when he joined me. I ate a lot of meringues in Geneva, among other things.

And now I’ve finally gotten around to making them at home. Not hard at all, and similar to making butter in the sense that it primarily involves beating the &#$*@ out of something. You need very few ingredients, and the most important one is a bit of patience.

My recipe came from the new edition of the Joy of Cooking, still a good standby for classics like this.

What you’ll need:

  • A perfectly clean glass or metal bowl
  • Electric mixer with whisk attachment
  • Parchment paper and baking sheets
  • 4 egg whites, approx 1/2 cup (freeze your egg yolks to save them!)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, preferably superfine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar

What you’ll do:

  • Put the egg whites in the glass bowl
  • Add the vanilla and cream of tartar to the egg whites and let them stand until they come to room temperature
  • Preheat oven to 200 F and line baking sheets with
  • Beat on high, adding one tbsp of granulated sugar at a time, until the eggs form stiff peaks
  • Fold in the powdered sugar
  • Put meringue in zip lock bag and cut a 1 cm hole in the corner (makeshift pastry bag)
  • Squeeze meringues onto baking sheets in hershey kiss shapes, or otherwise if you prefer
  • Bake 2 hours and then let cool for at least 10 minutes

This recipe makes a LOT of meringues. Depending on how big you make them, you could have anywhere from dozens to almost 100.

I’m not sure that I know the “right” way to shape these. As you can see, mine got better with time (moving from left to right). At least, they got more consistent with time! The final pan looked like it was done by a pro. Alex experimented with some shapes I’m sure the French would disapprove of. I’ve omitted these to protect his reputation.

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