It’s often said that baking is a relaxing pastime. Although that might be news to the exasperated home cook tossing yet another charred lump in the bin, piping out neat rows of meringue is, I have to say, undeniably soothing. Key to maintaining that aura of calm is using an electric whisk to whip up the egg whites(or a balloon whisk and a very large mixing bowl to give you plenty of room to work air in) and ensuring your tools are spotlessly clean. Meringues are quick and easy to make, but any streaks of stray fat will prevent you creating the tall, airy foam you need.
Sandwiched meringue kisses
I’ve used fondant icing sugar instead of the regular kind for the buttercream. It gives a smoother feel on the tongue because it doesn’t have added flour.Makes 30 meringues, for 15 sandwiches.
Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr
3 medium egg whites
1 squeeze lemon juice
160g caster sugar
1-2 tbsp freeze-dried fruit powder (raspberry or strawberry), available online or in larger supermarkets – I use the one from healthysupplies.co.uk
For the fruit buttercream
150g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g icing sugar (preferably fondant icing sugar)
45g double cream
1 tbsp freeze-dried fruit powder (as above)
Heat the oven to 110C/230F/gas ¼. Put the egg whites in a large, clean mixing bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice (about a quarter-teaspoon). Using an electric whisk, whisk up the egg whites into a foam and continue until little soft peaks form, which, when you remove the whisk, collapse on themselves.
Continue to whisk the meringues, slowly adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Whisk until the mix forms stiff peaks that hold their shape when the whisk is removed. Put all the meringue mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle.
Lay a sheet of greaseproof paper across a large baking sheet, with a little dab of meringue under each corner to anchor the paper to the sheet. Holding the piping bag perpendicular to the sheet, pipe little blobs of meringue, about 3cm across, leaving at least 2cm space between each. Continue until you have piped all of the mix.
Sprinkle a little of the fruit powder on to the meringues, then bake for one hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, make the filling: beat together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale, then add the cream and fruit powder until combined.
Assemble the sandwiches by sticking two meringue halves together with a teaspoon-sized splodge of buttercream between them.