Servings: Serves 6–8
- 6 large free-range or organic egg whites
- 1 cup and 5 Tbsp. superfine sugar
- Pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Put your egg whites into a bowl, making sure there are absolutely no little pieces of egg shell or egg yolk in them. Whisk on medium until the whites form firm peaks. You'll know that it's thick enough if you can hold the bowl upside-down over your head– in 15 years of cooking, it's only fallen on my head once!
With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and the pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 7 or 8 minutes until the meringue mixer is deliciously white and glossy. Dip your finger in the meringue and rub the mixture between your thumb and index finger. It should feel perfectly smooth. If it feels at all grainy, whisk for a little bit longer. Keep a close eye on the meringue because if you whisk for too long, it will collapse.
Now gently fold in one of the flavors from the list below–if you fancy. Personally, I quite like to eat a meringue that has a secret extra flavor added to it, especially when it's so subtle that you end up kicking yourself trying to work out what it is! Choose one of the following:
- A good pinch of saffron
- Zest of 2 oranges
- A handful of pistachio nuts, bashed
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
Spoon your plain or flavored meringue mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, either in one large dollop or several smaller ones, leaving a bit of space between them. Dab them with the bottom of your spoon so you get wispy bits rising up from the surface of the meringue. Pop the baking sheet into the oven for about an hour, until the meringues are crisp on the outside and chewy and a little gooey in the middle.