I say this all the time, but I think it bears repeating.
Simple does not always mean easy.
Case in point; I’ve just finished applying to grad school and the application was fairly simple, just some general information about me and an essay. The only thing is, I’ve never written an admissions essay. Ever. I applied early admission to my first choice undergraduate school and there was no requirement for an essay. I got in, so I didn’t apply anywhere else. Fast forward six years and I have no idea what to write. Simple? Yes. Easy? Not hardly.
The same is true for Meringues. We talked a little about them when I made the Chocolate Pie (find that here) but this time I actually made meringue cookies, kind of, and it was a whole different story. You can find the recipe I used here or in Barefoot In Paris, Ina Garten’s cookbook, which I reviewed here.
You start with egg whites at room temperature. Now, you could wait a long time for eggs to come to room temperature, or you could help them along. Go ahead and separate the whites from the yolks (and for Heaven’s sake, keep the yolks!) and put the whites in the bowl of your mixer and let them sit for awhile. They’ll come up to temp faster this way. Add a bit of salt, and cream of tartar and mix them (using your wisk attachment!) until foamy. Then add a cup of sugar.
Beat awhile longer on high. When I say “awhile” I mean awhile. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to get the stiff peaks to form. Unlike when you’re just beating egg whites for a mousse or something, this concoction turns into a milky syrup before it binds together. Just be patient and don’t panic. It’ll happen.
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. On parchment paper the size of a cookie sheet, use a glass or cookie cutter and a pencil to trace circles. You should get 6 circles on each piece and make two pans worth.
Now is the difficult part. You’re going to need to pipe the meringues, so you’ll need to get them into a pastry bag with a large star tip. I had a feeling that this would ruin my nice pastry bag (and I would have been right!) so I used a gallon sized plastic bag and a pasty tip I got from Big Lots for 97 cents. The meringues are EXTREMELY sticky, so don’t be surprised if they don’t jump into the bag like good boys and girls.
Starting in the center of each circle (which you have place pencil side down on a cookie sheet, yes?) pipe a disk of meringue, then pipe around the edge for a second layer to make a kind of cup.
Pop the whole mishegoss into the oven for 2 hours, and then turn off the oven and let it sit for 4 hours, or over night. Don’t make this recipe if it’s super humid, or they will never dry out.
The original recipe says to make raspberry sauce and whipped cream and all kinds of nonsense, but I didn’t have any of the ingredients for it, so I covered mine with sliced bananas, walnuts, a dab of vanilla ice cream, and hot fudge sauce. Yum!
P.S. I did finally write the essay, and I think it was pretty good. I’ll keep you guys posted on my admissions journey!