Contrary to my last post, I did not bake bread for my second bake of The Berry Project as yeast seems to have become the most precious of all entities – a kind of gold dust that has disappeared completely from the shelves of local shops and all supermarkets. Even with my limited knowledge of bread-making, I know there’s little to no point of trying to bake bread without yeast so I aborted this plan for now and turned my attention to meringues.
Owing to baking a ridiculous amount of pastry this week, I found myself with a surplus of egg whites and so meringues seemed like the obvious choice so that half the eggs didn’t go to waste. Summer has definitely snuck up on us this year and now that it’s mid May, it’s strawberry season! In my mind, strawberries, meringue and cream are a marriage made in heaven, particularly when served with a cold glass of Pimm’s. Raspberries are another summer-fruit favourite, which also go perfectly with meringue.
Meringue is definitely a desert I have to be in the mood for – occasionally I get the odd craving for a gloriously indulgent Eton mess but they wouldn’t normally be my go-to choice out of preference. Having said this, they are so therapeutic to make. Italian meringue is my all-time favourite – I’m obsessed with its glossy silkiness that you commonly find on top of Lemon Meringue Pie.
I definitely have a soft-spot for meringue Suisse (Swiss meringue) however, which is what Mary Berry’s Basic White Meringue is. The meringue recipe consists of just two ingredients: egg whites and caster sugar which you combine to create creamy meringues. Her recipe calls for the meringues to be slow-cooked for one to one and a half hours, which results in crisp, dry meringues. It’s a straight-forward recipe which holds your hand gently through each process and let me tell you, they come out a treat! I opted to pipe mine in 2 inch circles and they came out looking beautifully uniform (no spreading which I was worried might happen) and all cooked evenly, which was a (happy) surprise!
It’s not all that clear what the correct way of piping a meringue is – do you pipe from the inside out or the outside in?! I turned to reliable Google once more, which turns out there are so many different ways you can pipe meringue. As I still have a whole load of egg whites still in the fridge (even after baking this batch of 18 mini-meringues), I’m definitely going to continue practicing with a variety of different nozzles to see which ones I prefer the best.
Once the meringues are cooled, you simply take them out the oven and sandwich them with whipped cream, for a comforting, sugary bite! I opted to put raspberries in mine too for a bit of colour and extra sweetness, which made for the ideal post-run snack. All in all – this recipe was definitely a success and I’m already thinking about what to bake next.