- Tried & Tasted -

Friday, 27 February 2015

What to do with all the egg whites?

After baking kueh bangkit, pineapple tarts and osmanthus melts, I was left with a lot of egg whites as the recipes above used only the egg yolks. 

It took me a while to want to start baking as there are so many cookies in the house to feast on. Good to know that egg whites can keep very well in the fridge in a clean, air tight container. 

Meringues cookies are well loved by my family. They can be eaten as on its own or used to sandwich some naturally flavored buttercream or crushed up on top of ice cream or in a chocolate fondue. Yum...

The same recipe can be used to make a pavlova (which I did - pictures below), topped that with whipped/clotted cream and fresh mixed berries, like strawberry (now on sale at the supermarket), blueberry and raspberry. Sprinkle a few mint leaves on top and you have a dessert that is pretty and one that the whole family can dig into its deliciousness. 
Cannot help but to take a picture of the strawberries too. They are so beautiful!

Basic Meringues Recipe
adapted from taste.com.au
4 egg whites (120g), at room temperature
Pinch of salt
220g castor sugar

Steps to bake:
  • The most important thing to remember when making meringues is that moisture is their greatest enemy. Therefore, don't make meringues on humid or rainy days. Also, avoid making them when doing other cooking. Moisture in the air will prevent them from drying completely and will make them "weep". Preheat oven to 120°C. Measure and prepare all your ingredients.
  • Bring your eggs to room temperature before using them - cold egg whites incorporate less air than those at room temperature. When you separate the egg whites from the yolks, separate each egg into a small dish or ramekin rather than straight into a large bowl. Transfer the whites and yolks to different bowls before. separating the remaining eggs. This way, if a yolk breaks into a white, you will not spoil all four egg whites. Egg whites from 59 g eggs were used for this recipe.
  • The salt will help to stabilize the meringues and help them stiffen before the sugar is added. A pinch of cream tartar can be used in place of the salt if you wish.
  • Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Have all the required utensils on hand. An electric stand mixer or electric hand beaters with a whisk attachment or a hand balloon whisk can be used to whisk the egg whites. they will all give good results but the texture of the meringue mixture will be slightly different with each.
  • Place the egg whites and salt in a large, clean, dry mixing bowl. Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachment/s are free of any water, or fat such as butter, oil or egg yolks, as this will inhibit the egg whites from incorporating air and producing a good volume. It is best to use a stainless steel, glass, ceramic or copper bowl for whisking egg whites and not plastic as traces of fat are difficult to remove from plastic bowls. Use an electric mixer or electric hand beaters to whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking until just combined. The sugar should be added gradually but there is no need to whisk well after each addition. If the sugar is added too slowly, the resulting mixture will be fluffy and not smooth and will give the final meringues an open texture.
  • After the last of the sugar has been, added, continue to whisk for a further 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and glossy, all the sugar has dissolved and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted. The best way to test if all the sugar has dissolved is to rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger.
  • If it is smooth, all the sugar has dissolved. Keep a close eye on the mixture and stop beating as soon as it reaches this stage. If the mixture is overbeaten, the meringues will collapse during cooking and beads of sugar will form on their surface.
  • Use teaspoons to spoon the mixture onto the lined trays to form the meringues. As a guide, each meringue will be about 2 level tablespoon measures of mixture. (I used a pipping bag fitted with a open star tip to pipe mine)
  • Place the meringues into the oven and reduce the temperature to 90°C. When you place the meringues in the oven, the initial slightly higher temperature sets their outsides. The lower temperature then dries the meringues rather than bakes them. Leave the oven on for 1 1/2 hours or until the meringues are crisp and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven - this will take 3-4 hours. 
  • The meringues will have a crisp, light texture and a very pale, even, off-white colour.
  • Store the meringues in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

I have made orange flavored meringue by adding 1 tsp of orange zest to half of the recipe. Just gently fold the orange zest into the finished meringue.  

The simple pavlova that I assembled. It consists of strawberry, orange segments and passion fruit.

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