Meringues

Last night I made Crema Catalana, a Catalan custard similar to creme brulee. That meant I had a lot of egg whites leftover, so I figured I’d make meringues.
Both my mother and my grandmother Granny used to make meringues from time to time. Granny made them white and crunchy. My mother insisted on putting food coloring on them, and they always ended up being soggy. I much preferred Granny’s. In Argentina, meringue “sandwiches”, with a dulce de leche filling, are pretty common. Tiny ones are presented as masas finas, and huge ones make a diabetes-inducing snack.
Still, in my many years as a home cook I’d never made meringues – I guess I thought they were too hard. Nothing could be further from the truth. It must be the easiest thing I ever made. Basically all you do is beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks, add sugar (1/4 cup per egg white – I told you they were sinful) and beat until the peaks form again. Then you put them in a 200F pre-heated oven for an hour, turn off the heat and leave them in the oven for another hour. The ones I made last night turned out beautiful, even though the girls (7 & 4 yo) were the ones to put them on the cookie sheets (make sure to oil/flour them well).
Will I make them again? Perhaps if I have too many egg whites to get rid off, but really, they are so sugary that I feel bad giving them to my children.

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