We’re right in the heart of the strawberry season here in the UK and have been having some lovely weather, on and off. These are great to spruce up some strawberries, if you serve with some whipped cream or yoghurt. Make smaller ones if you want to sandwich them together, but I just served larger ones on top of a bowl of strawberries and cream, which I think gives a more dramatic impact (and they’re easier to eat with a spoon).
These are the crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle sort of meringues. The swirls are made with food colouring, so you can make the swirls whatever colour you’d like, to match the fruit colour, or theme of a party, perhaps, I just think red looks a bit more natural as it matches up with the strawberries.
4 egg whites
300g caster sugar
Red food colouring, I like the gel kind by Dr. Oetker
1. When separating eggs, use a really clean bowl, as any dust or fat will stop the meringue from getting really whisked up, never mind meaning you have all sorts of grossness in your food! I’m sure we all have our own tips as to how to separate eggs, but I’ll share my method just in case you haven’t done it before. I don’t like to use separators and so on, as it just results in more washing up. But I do believe in the luxury of multiple bowls – two cereal sized ones and your mixing bowl, as this helps to prevent eggs being wasted. Basically, I crack the egg against the side of the bowl, pull the shell apart, and sort of tip out the white, whilst tossing the yolk from shell to shell to get as much as possible, then I chuck the yolk into a separate bowl. Tip the white into the mixing bowl and repeat until they’re all done. If you get any shell in, retrieve using half of the larger shell, or a teaspoon if you’re worried about more shell breaking off. The wisdom in this madness is that if you do accidentally split or spill the yolk, it’s only affecting one egg white, not all the other clean successful ones you’ve already managed. Add the salt.
3. Gradually add the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time then whisk in. This is the tricky part which requires lots of patience. Basically, you need to encourage the sugar to dissolve without overbearing the meringue. When it’s done, it’ll look thick and glossy and will hold itself in stiff peaks.
4. Spoon into a sheet of baking parchment on a baking sheet, whilst your oven preheats to 110C. You can pipe them instead, or be creative with your spoon, using the spoon to swirl it and pull out a nice peak at the top.
5. Squeeze some food colouring onto a cocktail stick and gently drag it around the meringues in a swirling motion. You may need to reapply.
6. Bake in the oven for an hour or so, or until crisp on the outside and easily coming away from the paper, i.e. dry on the bottom, when lifted. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a few weeks.