March 27, 2013

Pastel Swirl Meringues

The other day I made vanilla mousse with rainbow sprinkles, and apart from the fact that it was delicious, it left me with a lot of egg whites.  And if you’ve read some of my posts before, you know how I take pride in using up leftovers.  Like how I always use leftover frosting, and how I like to smother aging bananas in caramel.  

Meringues were a natural choice when it came to using up egg whites.  Fyi you can freeze eggs whites in an ice cube tray and then transfer to a zip bag once frozen to store, but my ice cube trays are currently full of ice.  Go figure.  

The colour just adds that little extra.  And it’s super easy!  All you have to do is paint a thin line of colour up the side of a pastry bag using gel food colour.  Then just be careful not to mix everything up too much while filling the bag.  Also make sure you don’t wait too long and have your colour dry...

I also found that the perfect method of baking the meringues is at 200F for 2 hours and then leave the meringues in the oven until they cool with the door propped open slightly to let steam escape (I put a wooden spoon to prop it open just a crack).  Don’t be fooled if they feel slightly rubbery when you poke at them after two hours.  They will dry out after cooling.  Overbaking will result in brown meringues with a slightly bitter, burnt aftertaste.  Nobody wants that.  

Baking for two hours leaves them perfectly dry, melt-in-your-mouth all the way through.  If you like ‘em chewy in the middle, bake for less time (maybe one hour) and cool the same way.  

These things are seriously addictive, because as soon as you pop it in your mouth, it’s gone!  Like magic.  Vanishing caloric density (it’s a thing I swear!).  So make lots of them! ..Or not... 

Pastel Swirl Meringues

3 eggs whites
3/4 cup sugar
(Yeah that’s it)

Preheat oven to 200F.  In a large clean bowl (make sure there is no grease in it), or the bowl of your stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar.  Place over a saucepan of lightly simmering water and whisk until the egg whites are hot and you can’t feel any sugar granules when you rub a bit between your fingers.  Remove and whip with an electric mixer or your stand mixer until stiff peaks form and mixture has cooled to room temperature.  You have just made a swiss meringue.  You may also recognize this from swiss meringue buttercream.  It’s totally the same!  Just add butter. 

If you want colour on your meringues, paint thin stripes of gel food colour along one side of your piping bag, from the tip to the top.  You can do multiple colours by equally spacing multiple stripes.  Fill your bag carefully with the swiss meringue, trying not to mix the colours too much. 

Pipe meringues onto parchment paper lined baking sheets as large or as small as you want, realizing that the small ones will dry out faster and the large ones will remain chewier or may need to be baked longer.  About 1 inch diameter works really well to dry out completely using this recipe.  I used a large 2C Wilton tip to pipe mine to get those beautiful swirls. 

Bake in your preheated oven for 2 hours, rotating the pan halfway through.  Turn oven off.  For electric ovens, prop open oven door slightly (I like to put a wooden spoon in to prevent the door from closing); gas ovens should already be vented.   Wait until cooled to room temperature.  Remove from oven and store in an airtight container. 

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