Portion/Yield:Makes 10–12 giant meringues
Big is beautiful and these giant meringues are no exception. I must admit though that whatever size you make meringues in, they always look good! This recipe is easy to make; all you need is a bit of time.
These giant meringues make a spectacular display. They can be enjoyed as they are with coffee, or they can be served as part of a make-your-own dessert at the table. Simply place a bowl of these giant meringues in the centre of the table with a large bowl of whipped Chantilly cream and warm chocolate sauce alongside, then get everyone to tuck in. I’ll bet everyone will love you!
It’s easy to make meringues, but as I have quite a few years experience, I have discovered a few tricks along the way to guarantee a success every time, so I thought I would share these with you.
The formula I use is one part egg whites to two parts sugar; this formula works well for me.
Ingredients & Method
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 25g cocoa powder
- 400g large free-range or organic egg whites (about 10 large egg whites)
- 800g caster sugar
- a pinch of table salt
Preheat the oven to 110°C/Gas Mark ¼ and line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
Grind the cinnamon stick to a powder using a pestle and mortar, then sift it to remove any remaining large bits. Mix the powdered cinnamon with the cocoa powder in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Put on a pair of clean disposable gloves to cover your hands. Place the saucepan over a very low heat, gently heating the egg whites and melting the sugar, while stirring the mixture continuously using one of your gloved hands (this might sound a bit odd but is very important). By using your hand, you can control the heat, as you do not want to heat the mixture above 37°C (blood temperature). Stirring it all the time helps to dissolve the sugar too. Once the temperature has reached 37°C, remove the pan from the heat.
Transfer the egg white mixture to an electric stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk and whisk for 6–8 minutes or until the mixture becomes very thick and glossy. Remove the bowl from the mixer, then sift the cinnamon and cocoa powder mixture over the meringue. Using 2 large metal spoons, scoop deep into the meringue mixture, folding lightly as you go, to achieve a ripple effect of cocoa through the meringue. Don’t be tempted to mix the cocoa in completely though as you will spoil your rustic rippled effect. Please do not overmix!!
Drop 5–6 heaped spoonfuls of the meringue on to each prepared baking tray, leaving sufficient space between each one as the meringues swell when they cook. Bake in the oven for about 2 hours, until the meringues are firm on the outside but still slightly gooey in the centre.
Remove from the oven and leave the meringues to cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. The meringues will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Experiment with the flavours. Instead of the cinnamon/cocoa mix, lightly fold in chopped nuts such as pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and pecan nuts. Finely grated lemon or orange zest adds a lovely zingy citrusy twist to the meringue mixture too.