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Marvellous meringues

Published: 
Friday, June 20, 2014

It’s funny how sometimes we take a simple egg white for granted. But put about four together in a bowl, whip them up with some sugar and voila, you’ve got the perfect low fat topping to dress your pies with! If you bake the pies in a hot oven, they turn to golden splendour. Place the pie to chill in your refrigerator and a few hours later you’ve got a perfect dessert. Good meringues should be thick and firm with just the right amount of sugar, not airy and slack.

 

Meringues have earned their place in the culinary world, without them there would be soufflés, no lemon meringue pies, no meringue cakes. As common as they may be and as simple as their mode of preparation may be, one minute of over or under beating will inhibit a good rise from your soufflé and prevent your sponge from rising to the occasion.

 

According to the recipe egg whites will need to be beaten to a certain consistency. The soft peak stage means they look thick but droopy when made into peaks while stiff peaks would mean the meringue would hold its peak when dropped from a spoon. If egg whites are over beaten, they would have an almost grainy consistency.

 

PASSION FRUIT SOUFFLED CREPES 

CREPES 
1/2 cup all purpose flour 
1 egg and one egg yolk 
1/4 cup each milk and water 
11/2 tbsp melted margarine 
1 tbs sugar 
Pinch grated nutmeg 

Method 
• Place flour, nutmeg and sugar in a mixing bowl, whisk in milk and water until smooth, add eggs and continue whisking until smooth, add melted margarine and combine. Cover and rest for one hour in the refrigerator.
• Heat a non stick frying pan and pour crepe batter by 1/4 cup measures, tilt pan until batter is almost transparent, flip over when bubbles appear, cook for a few seconds more and remove, repeat for others. 
• Makes six crepes.

Passion soufflé 
4 egg yolks 
2/3 cup granulated sugar 
1 cup evaporated milk 
1/3 cup passion fruit puree 
4 egg whites 
1/4 tsp cream of tartar 

Method 
• Beat the yolks with 1/3 cup sugar add milk and warm over low heat until thick, remove. 
• Beat whites with cream of tartar until frothy, add the rest of sugar and beat to soft peak stage. 
• Add some egg whites to the cooled custard then add the custard mixture to the egg whites, fold to incorporate.
• Preheat oven to 400F. 
• Place crepes onto a greased baking tray or a prepared oven proof dish, spoon some soufflé onto one half of the crepe, fold over and place into oven, cook until lightly browned and puffed, about five minutes, remove dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

 

TIPS FOR PERFECT MERINGUES 

1. Always start with room temperature eggs, these will increase in volume much more than refrigerated eggs. 
2. Use squeaky clean beaters and non plastic (stainless steel or glass) bowls for preparation. Plastic tends to trap grease and grease tends to prevent your egg whites from beating up. 
3. When separating egg whites from yolks never let the smallest amount of yolk slip into your whites, this will also prevent your whites from beating up.
4. Egg whites freeze well, just bring them to room temperature before using.