Sunday, January 17, 2010
Meringues or Suspiros as they are called here in Costa Rica were a staple at my house growing up. My mother used to make them all the time and I think it was one of the first things I ever learned to bake. They're so easy right??? Well, I have come to learn that these puffy treats can be quite temperamental when they want to.
Making these meringues was a total disaster! First off I was dead tired, hmmm, could that have been the problem? Nah! You're never to tired to make these, they are quick and easy...
As I separated the eggs, some broken yolk went into the whites, aaarggggghhhhh Charlie Brown! Don't you just hate that? You know you're not going to get it all, so why even try and scoop it out with the empty shell or a spoon!
Then, as I was turning on the faucet so I could clean my yolky hands, the water just burst out and splashed everywhere! I think some might have gone into the already semi damaged egg whites. What else could go wrong??
Well, let me tell you, the pesky whites did not want to stiffen. You beat and beat and beat until you think the mixer is going to melt, and they were just blah; runny. Not to mention the fact that they did not rise as much because of the nasty yellow yolk that crashed the party!
Seeing as how they simply refused to form stiff peaks I just said %^&;*/ it, they're baking as is and formed discs. Meringue shells which I think is what they are actually called are great all by themselves but they can later be filled or topped with all kinds of delicious goodies that will just melt in your mouth with sweetness. Aaaahhh. Add strawberries and whipped cream and you have a treat fit for a king. Scoop some ice cream on top and you would think you're in heaven! I am going to be making sinfully silky chocolate mousse later in the week, which may or may not go into one of these, depending if they're still here by then.
In the end, after all the hassle, they came out pretty great. They actually came out exactly how I wanted them. So I guess, these aren't as easy to screw up as I thought!
To make meringues you will need:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
That's all you need. Three ingredients. Now some people like to use cream of tartar, but to tell you the truth, I have never really needed it. These three things haved always worked fine. Then again, seeing as how my mixture would not stiffen and rise as much this time, I may reconsider...
To make these all you have to do is beat the egg whites on the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on low-medium speed until they rise and form soft peaks. You then add the sugar gradually and beat on high until they form very stiff peaks. Then you add your vanilla. That's it!
You can use a spoon and drop these one your baking sheet forming little puffy clouds or you can also use a pastry bag if you want a more sofisticated look.
You can bake these at 300 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes to get a crispy outside and chewy center (which is exactly how I like it) or you can lower the temperature to 200 degrees and bake these approximately double the time to get a crisp almost powder like meringue.
Like I mentioned these are delicious by themselves or with just about everything!