For the past 20 years, we have tried all sorts of meringue recipes and ideas from sticky pavlovas and roulades, to nests and shells. These giant shapes are a new sticky and delicious addition to the repertoire.
Adding a swirl of colour or nuts, or both, to meringues is genius, elevating them from pale and uninteresting to a big, blowsy visual treat. Experiment, and don't worry if they seem oddly enormous -- they are even more modish this way.
YOU WILL NEED
360g caster sugar
6 large egg whites (at room temperature)
40g pistachios, finely chopped
1tsp of rosewater or 1tbsp coffee essence
1tbsp chopped walnuts or 1tsp raspberry puree or strawberry puree, or a drop of red food colouring
Line a flat baking sheet with a piece of baking parchment. Place the egg whites in a spotlessly clean metal or glass bowl, not plastic as it can absorb grease which could affect the volume of your egg whites as they are whisked. Add in half the sugar and, using an electric mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks and is visibly increased in volume.
Continue whisking, adding the remaining sugar in three stages, allowing the mixture to absorb the sugar between each addition: this will take about 10-15 minutes, by which stage the meringues should have formed stiff peaks. Using a metal spoon gently fold in the pistachios and rosewater, or your flavour of choice.
Use two large serving or kitchen spoons to place eight oval-shaped meringues on the baking sheet, allowing plenty of room between each meringue as they will double in size. Bake in the oven for about 90 minutes depending on their size. You will know when they are cooked when they can be easily lifted off the paper. Arrange on your biggest, prettiest plate and serve with cream.
The key to making any type of meringue is to make sure that your utensils are spotlessly clean. Use a metal spoon and a glass bowl, as plastic and wood can absorb grease which will inhibit your egg whites from whisking nicely. If you get some egg yolk into your whites when you are separating the eggs, don't panic; use one of the cracked egg shells to get it out.