Everybody loves a meringue- they're not just for the kids! A great treat for anyone following a gluten-free diet too (check the cornflour/cornstarch used is from maize. In Australia 'White Wings' cornflour is gluten-free). Tips for great meringues....ensure your bowls and beaters are totally clean. Use eggs at room temperature and be careful with your eggs- must have no egg yolk at all. If your choice is for a white meringue-keep your oven temperature low and leave the meringue in longer to cook if needs be. Makes 50 meringues or 1 large pavlova.
- Preheat oven to 100°C - 120°C Do not use the oven fan if possible.
- Beat the four egg whites with the cream of tartar using an electric mixer. Bring to 'soft peak' stage.
- Add 1/3 of the sugar and continue to beat to 'firm peak' stage- approx another 3 minutes. Then add the remaining sugar one spoon at a time whilst continuing to beat.
- Continue beating until the mixture is shiny and the sugar has totally dissolved. Feel the meringue mix with your fingertips and you should not be able to feel any gritty sugar. Continue to beat until the sugar has dissolved, if required.
- Sift the cornflour over the meringue and add the vinegar. Fold in gently.
- Use a spoon or pipe the mixture to form meringues onto a cookie tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake approx 60 minutes, or until firm and dry. During cooking reduce the oven temperature if the meringues are browning rather than drying out. When cooked, turn the oven off and leave the oven door slightly ajar. Allow the meringues to cool in the oven for about an hour, or leave overnight.
- Store in an airtight container. They should keep at least a few days.
- ____VARIATIONS ____.
- Flavoured meringues-add some vanilla or other essence of your choice whilst folding in the cornflour.
- Coloured meringues- add some food colouring of your choice and beat through before folding in the cornflour.
- Chocolate meringues- sift in 2 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa with the cornflour. You can also add ground or finely chopped nuts if desired.
- Coconut meringues- lightly fold through 1/2 cup of shredded or dessicated coconut with the cornflour.
- Almond meringues- fold through 1/2 cup ground almonds with the cornflour. You can also add some almond essence if desired.
- Lime or Lemon Meringues- fold through finely zested lime or lemon zest with the cornflour. A teaspoon of juice can be used instead of/substitute for the white vinegar.
- Sprinkled meringues- sprinkle meringues with finely chopped nuts or 100's and thousands prior to baking.
- For a Large Pavlova- Draw a 22-25 cm (9-10 inch) circle on the baking paper. Turn paper over and place on a large cookie sheet/tray. Use the entire mixture to pile onto the circle. Smooth over the surface and bake for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova in the closed oven for another hour. After an hour open the oven door and leave the pavlova in the oven to cool. Serve topped with whipped cream or vanilla yogurt. Top with some fruit or grated chocolate. Can also be served with lemon butter/curd instead of cream.
- Small Pavlovas/Individual pavlovas- make as for large pavlova but use 6-8 spoonfuls of meringue per pavlova. Pile the meringue as high as possible. Bake for about 45 minutes.