I spent yet another raging Friday night hanging out with my family as well as making meringues. I think my life is comparable in its extremeness to that of Bear Grylls or a world champion BASE jumper. Ooh I did some washing too. Two loads of washing in fact. I really should have posted about it on Facebook but then again sometimes it's best not to boast.
My Saturday morning was even more out of control. I woke up next to a hairy 23 year old guy known as Charlie Bear, went to a spin class, took my car for a WOF and did some grocery shopping with my friend Alix (chicken breast was on special - highlight!). The afternoon has consisted of making soup, taking photos of meringues, being a physical examination dummy for my med student flatmate and baking a lemon cake. WOAH HOLD THE PHONE. While none of these things are particularly exciting and the spin class almost made me pass out at least my day has been productive. I think of all the people out there who are cosied up, hungover as hell. I am not envious of these people. They do not have meringues nor lemon cake.
Oops got distracted and ended up making a lemon cake as well. Don't you hate it when you accidentally bake a cake? Its a bit of a problem because I lack the people to eat it. I have sugared out my flatmates with these meringues. Maybe if I feed them a serving of vegetables in between their likelihood of eating more sugar will increase? I tried offering cake to Bae* and his brother, they said no. Please don't make me take this back home only to spend ANOTHER Saturday night with my parents.
* Please note I use the term 'Bae' out of complete and utter piss take. Its another terrible stool from the bowels of popular culture. He isn't really a bae anyway. Sure I've been dating him for three months but there is zero chance of him proposing his undying love for me anytime soon. Especially as he leaves the country in 14 days for like forever (WHICH MEANS THERE WILL SOON BE A VACANCY IN MY LIFE - APPLICATIONS WELCOME). Although seriously, who says no to free and delicious and hand delivered cake? WHO SAYS NO TO CAKE AND COITUS?
I should be harping on about these meringues not that lemon cake (although that will be making an appearance here very very soon). Meringues are super easy to make but there are a few basic laws you must abide by.
1) Thou bowl nor whisk must not be tainted with grease - any trace of fat will make whipping your meringue into sturdy peaks pretty much impossible. Wash all your utensils in hot soapy water and dry with a clean tea towel before starting.
2) Thou must not open the oven door - whilst your meringues are cooking and cooling refrain from opening the door of the oven. If you can't resist a peek just open the door ever so slightly to get a quick look. Leave the door closed overnight to let the meringues dry out. I cellotaped my oven shut to remind the flatmates to keep the moist air out.
3) Thou must have equal weights of egg white and sugar. Crack your egg whites into a bowl that is on a set of digital scales, use double the weight of sugar that you have whites. Eggs often vary in white weight and this method is really handy if you don't have the specified size of egg that a recipe states. A typical white weighs around 30 grams.
I served these up to the studying flatmates drizzled with a couple of teaspoons of melted dark chocolate and a sprinkling more of freeze dried raspberries.
Meringues with Chocolate and Pistachio
Makes 9 large meringues
120g egg white (approx 5 eggs worth)
240g white sugar (twice the weight of the egg white)
3/4 cup pistachio kernels
3/4 cup dark chocolate drops
Small handful of freeze dried raspberries to decorate
100g dark chocolate to serve
Preheat the oven to 100 degrees on bake. Using a standing cake mixer or an electric hand whisk, whisk the sugar and the egg whites together until the sugar has dissolved and a thick and glossy meringue forms. To test if you have whisked enough, take the whisk out of the bowl and turn it upside down. The meringue should be stiff enough so that the peaks do not collapse. It should take about six or seven minutes to get to this stage in a cake mixer.
Using a clean spatula, gently fold in the pistachios and the chocolate drops until evenly dispersed through the meringue.
Line a tray or two with baking paper. Take large spoonfuls of the meringue and create mounds on each tray 5cm apart from each other until you have around nine meringues. Shape them so they are nice and tall. Sprinkle over the freeze dried raspberry pieces.
Bake in the oven for an hour then turn off the heat and leave to dry out in the oven overnight. Try not to open the door. Leave them in for only an hour or two if you plan on serving them straight away.
To serve, melt the dark chocolate gently in the microwave and spoon over each meringue. Finish each one by sprinkling over a little more raspberry.
If you want to save them for later, store them un-chocolated in an airtight container with a small sprinkling of rice at the bottom (this will absorb the moisture). Eat within a couple of days.