There's a bowl of four egg whites sitting sad and lonely at the back of the fridge. It's a miserable sight. So what is the formula to convert this bowl of ugly, gloomy, slightly 'icky stuff into something gorgeous? ... it has to be a recipe for meringues.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways ... Ooh, there are so many.
- Meringues make me smile - here they are little, pink clouds of happiness. It just isn't possible to be grumpy with a meringue in front of you.
- I love a bit of culinary magic and for sure, some magic is involved when you make meringues. How can two ordinary ingredients like egg whites and sugar transform into such a glorious dessert?
- With a good recipe, meringues are super, super easy but they look seriously impressive - like you are a pro in the kitchen. There's a mystique around them - a belief that they are SO difficult to get right. Pssst - want to know a secret? They aren't difficult at all but let's keep this a secret between us so that you can get the baking glory ...
- It's often a surprise to discover that meringues keep really well, so they are a perfect dessert for preparing well in advance. They will be perfect for 2 weeks in an airtight container, so get cooking now to enjoy later.
- They also freeze like a dream - who would have thought it?
- There's so much scope to be creative with meringues. Here I swirled some red food colouring gel through the uncooked meringue mixture with a wooden skewer - gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and no fuss at all. I recently discovered a beautiful book called Meringue Girls by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman - it's a treasure of a cookery book packed with the most stunning inspiration and recipes for meringues and meringuey desserts ... check out the strawberry meringue ice lollies - inspired! Go on - unlock your inner Meringue Girl ... or boy.
- And the fillings for meringues are gorgeous too. Here I made them small and sandwiched them together with whipped cream and some fresh raspberries - delicate and delightful. Served with sorbet, meringues are surprisingly lovely; a drizzle of chocolate sauce is also delicious; passion fruit a touch more exotic. The world is your oyster.
- And if a meringue disaster does strike, pick up the pieces and create Eton Mess ... bits of meringue, cream and fruit served in individual dishes. The ultimate gorgeous food - no fuss.