Monday, December 13, 2010

Double recipe

It was 8.30pm by the time I'd completed my Christmas mince pies on Saturday night. But I wasn't finished in the kitchen yet: with all the pastry I'd made, I used six egg yolks, leaving me with an awful lot of egg whites. I had a use for one of them, but I didn't want to waste the other five.

I'd already made meringues some months ago, but there  was no reason why I shouldn't make some more, especially since the meringue recipe is actually printed twice in the Edmonds book: it appears once in the egg chapter (p96), and again in the slices and squares (p64). I assume this is a misprint, (one that hasn't been picked up, since it's still the same in recent editions) and I haven't counted it as two separate recipes, but it still gives me an excuse to make the recipe twice.

The recipe calls for two egg whites and apparently makes around 16 meringues. Since I had five whites, I made a larger version. It's very easy actually - just beat the eggs until stiff, add sugar and beat some more, then pipe onto a baking tray and bake at a low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours.

I'd considered my first attempt at meringues (using a single egg white and a hand beater) quite successful, but this time they came out even better. Five egg whites are much easier to beat than one, and using my mixer meant that they were beaten more thoroughly. When I piped the mixture onto the tray, the meringues kept their shape, instead of sinking into shapeless lumps like the last lot.

I had 32 good-sized meringues in the oven for an hour. When I took them out, I naturally taste-tested one (choosing of course the slightly stunted one made from the dregs in the piping bag) and it was perfect - crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy in the middle.

I reckon I've put my leftover egg whites to good use, supplying myself with a container full of meringues for Christmas. So if you find yourself with egg whites that need using, take five minutes to beat them into a meringue mixture. They may take an hour or more in the oven, but it's no effort at all to get them in there. And who doesn't love a meringue?

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