I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, “What for?” I said, “I’m going to buy some sugar.”
~ Steven Wright
I set out tonight to make some golden caramel ice cream from the cookbook (which I will blog about tomorrow when it hopefully finishes setting in the freezer). The recipe required 4 egg yolks, and it would have been such a shame to waste the egg whites… so I decided to experiment with making meringues :-)
(Wow, the cooking fairy is really having a ball with me this week).
It was such a novel sight for me watching egg whites and sugar merging and becoming something at once a glorified version of themselves and yet so far removed from their former selves. They went from being gloopy transparent mucus and white sandy grains to becoming a silky voluptuous white ballgown, thick and complex, ready for a dance.
I started to imagine myself making snowmen on Grouse Mountain in Vancouver while I rained icing sugar on the mix through a sieve…
Finally, I so enjoyed making little ovals on the trays with the marshmallow mix – it was like painting baby clouds on blank baking canvases.
1 1/4 hours later, I am rewarded with 2 trays of coffee-coloured meringues. Sweet! Recipe below.
4 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup icing sugar
- Method to my madness:
Preheat oven to 100 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper*.
- In a metal bowl, whisk egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
Increase your whisking speed and add in the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously. It should be thick and glossy, a little like natural yoghurt. Do not overbeat.
Fold in one-third of the icing sugar, then another third, then the last third. It should feel like you are stirring up a mid-winter snowstorm in a bowl… again, do not overmix.
Using two spoons, ease ovals of meringue mixture (now glossy and a little sticky, like gently heated marshmallows) onto the trays – and bake for approximately 1 1/4 hours, until they are a pale coffee colour. Leave to cool. Eat with ice cream or whipped cream, perhaps?
Yields 23 meringues.
- Note: I would advise the use of an electric mixer… it really is a little painful using a hand whisk/eggbeater.
- * Baking paper makes them stick too… oops. I hear parchment paper, though I’ve never used it before, works wonders.
I pried one meringue off to try it, and it protested loudly against being peeled off the paper… the bottom of it clinging to the paper like a very wet nappy to a baby’s bum. Hmmm… definitely need to give parchment paper a try next time!
The part of the meringue that I could get off the sheet was pretty delicious (think sweet crisp shell and perfect sweet marshmallow cloud inside), although I imagine it would be more deeply appreciated by someone with a VERY sweet tooth (not me). I was too full to finish the whole thing, but here’s a peek into what it looks like inside:
PS. In other cool news, my blog was featured recently on PocketCultures! Thanks Marie for the honour!