Why the hell would you spend 14 hours making meringues? How the hell CAN you spend 14 hours making meringues?
Because these are quite lovely. They are somewhere between your traditional crisp meringue and the soft and light poached meringue. They are fluffy and cloud-like, but have a light and delicate crisp coating around the outside. These actually don’t require much effort at all, but I’m afraid they do take rather a long time – your best bet is to bake them overnight.
The secret is a big slab of stone, on which to bake. My baking stone is a Tesco Granite Surface Protector. At home in Shetland, our oven is full of roofing slates. It doesn’t need to be fancy – just scour your streets for flat slabs and give em a good wash. Granite floor tiles are good. The stone is normally used to stone-bake bread; it retains heat, so you can just switch the oven off and let the meringues cook slowly on the stone overnight.
And you’ll want an electric mixer, if you don’t want a sore arm.
Makes 6 huge meringues
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
1. About 1 hour before you intend to bake, preheat your oven with a baking stone inside to 220 degrees C.
2. Put the egg whites in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Set to it’s noisiest setting.
3. Weigh out the sugar. Once the egg whites are light and fluffy and big, start adding the sugar, without turning the speed down. Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, one straight after the other. You may find this quite a slow process, but this is right.
4. Once all the sugar is all added, continue whisking for about 1 minute. Turn the mixer off and remove the whisk – it should be a proper stiff peak.
5. Scoop out the meringue into 6 big piles (leave plenty of space between them) on a greased and lined tray (non stick baking paper if possible). Place in the hot oven on the stone and turn the oven off straight away.
6. Wait until the oven is totally cool – best to leave it overnight.
Enjoy with blueberries and whipped cream. Nom.