Despite being an experienced home Baker I've always shied away from meringues, notoriously hard to get right I tend to leave them to the experts. Having said that, in the hope that one day I would decide to take the plunge, I freeze egg whites whenever a recipe only calls for yolks. I finally plucked up the courage over Easter to attempt Ottolenghi's meringues that look tower so spectacularly on the counters in his cafes. Could I recreate these things of beauty?
I must say I didn't do too badly. If you religiously abide by his rules you can also make take the risk and make the perfect meringue! In fact, they are extremely simple to make whilst giving the impression of hours of intensive labour. Go forth and bake!
This is the recipe I used from his first book entitled Ottolenghi The Cook Book:
200g Egg Whites (about 7)
140g dark brown sugar
260g castor sugar
A small handful of chopped hazelnuts
Combine both sugars and egg whites in a bowl. Place a sauce pan with a small amount of water on the stove, bring to a light simmer and create a double boiler with the bowl. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Do not allow the egg whites to cook, but heat through, ensuring the sugar is dissolved. Place the egg white and sugar mixture into an electric mixer and beat for about 10 minutes on high-speed or until the egg whites are shiny and very stiff. Scoop the mixture into large balls onto baking paper and top with roughly chopped hazelnuts. Bake at 110c for about 1:20 – 2:00 hours depending on humidity and oven settings. The meringues should be firm on the bottom but still deliciously gooey in the middle.