We have always loved meringues from small ones filled with cream or crushed to make Eton Mess to the bigger Pavlovas. They are gluten free and a much softer meringue than the white, hard shop-bought ones.
I can remember when I was very small, my Grandmother whipping up egg whites on a plate with a knife to make them stiff, then transferring them to a bowl and stirring in the sugar. She then either made meringues or topped a Lemon Meringue Pie. She obviously didn’t believe in hand-whisks and had never been brought up with a food mixer – no electricity when she was young!
These meringues are made with the Pavlova way of making meringues – crisp on the outside and softer in the middle. Of course it depends on how long you wish to cook the meringues or let them dry out in the oven.
The ratio is 2ozs (57g) of organic caster sugar to one organic egg white.
Chocolate or coffee meringues can be made by adding cocoa or coffee powder at the same time as the sugar.
Pre-heat oven to 120C/225F; Gas ¼/½ or Fan oven 110/120C
1. Whisk egg whites until thick and fluffy (so that they will stay in the bowl if it is turned upside down!) – do not over-whisk though.
2. Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time until it is all combined and the mixture is stiff.
3. Then add one teaspoon each of white wine vinegar, real vanilla essence or paste and cornflour. Give a quick whisk to blend these ingredients into the meringue mixture.
4. On a baking tray covered in non-stick baking parchment, either use two dessert spoons to make wedges or pipe into rounds or swirls.
5. Bake for at least 30-40min, even 1 hour until the outside of the meringue is crisp to the touch.
6. They can now be removed from the oven or left inside with the heat off to dry out further. That is your preference.
7. Leave to cool; they will keep in an air-tight tin for 1 week.
8. If eating immediately fill two halves with cream and sandwich them together or eat singly with fresh fruit.
9. Suggestions; cream mixed with melted chocolate sandwiched together and chocolate drizzled over the top. Or cream mixed with coffee, again sandwiched together and caramel drizzled over the top.