By royal approval: Raspberry swirl meringues
These small, rustic meringues have a thin, crunchy shell and a soft, chewy, marshmallow-like centre. The freeze-dried raspberry powder imparts a refreshingly sharp hit of flavour that cuts through the sweetness.
MAKES about 30 small meringues
150g caster sugar
2 free range egg whites
1 tsp raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tbsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
2-4 drops red natural food colouring
- Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6. Line a large baking tray with nonstick baking paper or a silicone mat. Pour the sugar in a thin, even layer on to the prepared tray. Place the tray in the oven for about 5 minutes, just until the sugar begins to melt around the edges, then remove from the oven and set aside.
- Lower the temperature to 100C/80C fan/gas ¼ and leave the door slightly ajar to allow the oven to cool down.
- While the sugar is heating, beat the egg whites in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. With the mixer still on medium speed, sprinkle in the warm sugar, a spoonful at a time, beating after each addition until the mixture returns to stiff peaks. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, add the vinegar and beat on high speed for a few minutes. The meringue should be smooth, glossy and thick.
- Sprinkle the raspberry powder on to the meringue, then add 2 drops of the food colouring and stir with a metal spoon to create lovely, vibrant red swirls throughout the meringue, adding another drop or two if needed. Do not mix in the powder and colouring completely.
- Using 2 teaspoons, place small heaps of the meringue on to the prepared baking tray, spacing them about 2.5cm apart. Bake the meringues for 30-40 minutes until they are dry to the touch and lift easily from the paper or mat. Leave to cool completely on the tray on a wire rack, then lift off the paper or mat. The meringues will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
CHEF’S NOTE This recipe is based on my favourite meringue formula of weighing the egg whites then using double the amount of sugar. It is simple and foolproof. I heat the sugar first, as this helps it to dissolve in the egg whites and yield a beautifully glossy, light, stable meringue. The addition of vinegar is what gives these meringues a deliciously chewy centre. Before you begin beating the egg whites, make sure the bowl and beater are grease-free or the whites won’t thicken.