Sunday 21 June 2015

How to make Striped Meringue Kisses and other Meringues

Are you any good at making meringues? There seems to be quite an art to them and it’s something I never really got the hang of. I went through a phase of making meringues that were flat and pale brown- not burnt, but they never came out white like they were supposed to. I then tried to make the passionfruit and pomegranate pavlova that is on the front cover of the latest Great British Bake Off cookbook and it was a complete disaster. The meringue looked great but completely stuck to the greaseproof paper, so the only way I was able to get it off was by breaking it into pieces. I cheerfully decided I would serve it as Eton Mess instead, so folded through the fruit and the cream – and when I came to serve it a couple of hours later, discovered the meringue had completely disintegrated into the cream and I had a bowl of mush. Apparently it does that and you must never assemble a pavlova, Eton Mess or anything involving meringue and cream until the very last minute- a lesson I learnt the hard way!
So when I saw a meringues and marshmallows course advertised at Cakes 4 Fun in Putney at half price I immediately signed up. I’ve already written about the marshmallows that we made, so now I’m going to tell you about the meringues. I am not allowed to recreate their recipes but you can find plenty of meringue recipes online and in books, and I suggest that when you find one that works, you stick with it.

We started by making meringue kisses which I’ve seen in shops – rows and rows of different coloured meringues in every shade of the rainbow. They are quite easy to make; you use the same basic meringue mixture for any size and shape. What I'm going to explain here is how to make the little kisses with the pretty stripes up each side - I had no idea before but it seems quite obvious when you know how!

Simply take a piping bag - this one happened to be bright pink - and select your colour. I normally use gel pastes but for this you need liquid food colouring. Using a small brush, paint a line of the colour along the inside of the piping bag - do this four times with the lines in a north, south, east and west shape, as you can see here:

You can put a piping nozzle into the bag but you don't actually need to and can just snip a little off the end of the bag. Carefully spoon your meringue mixture inside and as you squeeze it out, the meringue will take the colour and you end up with the striped effect.

Line a baking tray with a piece of greaseproof paper. To pipe the kisses, squeeze the bag so around 2 tbsp. of meringue comes out, making sure you keep it in a little pile rather than spreading it out, and pull the bag upwards as you finish. Bake in the oven according to your recipe instructions - they don't take long as they are quite small. There you have your kisses! These can be sandwiched together with cream or chocolate or eaten on their own and they will keep for a few days in an airtight container.

We also made some large freehand meringues which I thought looked great. We dolloped a large ladleful of meringue mixture onto the baking sheet and tidied it up a little with a knife. The one on the left was sprinkled with freeze-dried raspberries whereas the one on the right had cocoa powder swirled through it with a knife and chopped nuts sprinkled on top. You do this while the mixture is still raw.

Here they are just out of the oven, nicely risen

I think the chocolate ones in particular are very pretty! These were delicious served with cream and nutella.

What's your favourite meringue recipe?

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