Ultimate Meringue Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (also called caster sugar)

Equipment:

  • Large, clean mixing bowl (glass or metal)
  • Electric hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper

Instructions:

  • Preheat Oven and Prepare: Preheat your oven to 200°F (95°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Separate Eggs Carefully: Carefully separate the egg whites from the yolks, making absolutely sure no yolk gets into the whites. Even a tiny bit of fat can prevent proper whipping.
  • Start Whisking: In your clean bowl, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until foamy (about 30 seconds).
  • Stabilize and Flavor: Add the cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Continue whisking on medium speed until soft peaks form. This means when you lift the whisk, the peaks will hold their shape briefly before drooping.
  • Gradually Add Sugar: Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar very gradually, about a tablespoon at a time. Beat well after each addition. This slow addition ensures the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Beat to Stiff, Glossy Peaks: Continue beating until very stiff and glossy peaks form. This means when you lift your whisk, the meringue will hold its shape completely without drooping. Rub a small amount of meringue between your fingers – if you feel grains of sugar, continue beating.
  • Pipe and Bake: Spoon your meringue mixture into a piping bag (or use two spoons to form dollops) and create your desired shapes on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meringues are crisp to the touch and easily lift from the parchment.
  • Cool and Enjoy: Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool completely. This helps them dry out and achieve the perfect texture. Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Tips for Success:

  • Room Temperature Eggs: Egg whites whip up to greater volume when they’re at room temperature.
  • Clean Bowl and Utensils: Ensure your bowl and beaters are completely free from grease for best whipping. A bit of vinegar wiped over them can help.
  • Weather Matters: Avoid humid days. Humidity can interfere with meringue’s structure.
  • Flavor Variations: Experiment with other extracts like almond, or by adding zest, cocoa powder, or finely crushed freeze-dried fruit after the sugar is incorporated.

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