Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1.
Line 2 baking sheets with baking
parchment and set up a piping bag with
a medium-size star nozzle.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites
until very stiff – the whites should stand
in stiff, not floppy, peaks when the
beaters are lifted out. Once you
have reached this point, pour in roughly
half the sugar and the vanilla extract and
whisk again until the mixture becomes
very thick, firm and shiny. Add
the remaining sugar and whisk again
until thick, firm and shiny. If you like meringues with soft, mallowy centres, just add 1 tsp cornflour and 1 tsp white wine vinegar to the mix along with the sugar.
Carefully spoon the meringue into the
piping bag. Push any air out of the top
and tightly twist the end of the piping bag
to seal. Gently squeeze until meringue is
visible at the end of the nozzle, then
begin piping onto your lined baking
sheets. Pipe spiralling circles, about 6cm
wide and 3 layers high – like you would
ice a cupcake to make roughly 18.
The meringues will spread slightly as they
cook, so leave enough space between
each one. Bake in the oven for 1 hr, turning
the heat down to 120C/100C fan/gas ½
after 30 mins.
Remove from the oven – they should
peel easily away from the parchment
– and cool on a wire rack. Can be made
up to a week ahead and kept in an
airtight container, or frozen for up to
3 months, between layers of parchment,
in an airtight container.
To make Cream & chocolate meringues for dessert, put 100g dark chocolate in a glass bowl
and melt over a pan of gently simmering
water. Carefully dip the base of each
meringue in to coat, then place on their
sides on a plate or tray to set.
While the chocolate sets, whip 300ml
double cream. Assemble the meringues
in pairs and sandwich their chocolate
bases together with a good spoonful of
cream. Delicious served with ice cream,
raspberry coulis or fresh berries.