Making Meringues with Donna Hay

Australian cook, food stylist and magazine editor Donna Hay is renowned for her simple recipes and stunning photography. Her cook books have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide. Here she shares how to make the perfect meringue…
No-Fail Meringue Mixture

Makes 1 quantity to use in recipes below

Ingredients
225ml egg white (about 6 eggs)
330ml caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar

Method
Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.

Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition is dissolved before adding more.

Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy.

Place the cornflour and vinegar in a small bowl and mix until smooth.

Add the cornflour mixture to the egg white mixture, and whisk for 30 seconds or until well-combined. Use as directed in your recipe.

The Perfect Pavlova

Serves 8-10

Ingredients
For the pavlova

1 x quantity no-fail meringue mixture (see recipe)
375ml single pouring cream, whipped to soft peaks

To serve
raspberries
passionfruit pulp
sliced peaches

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°

Using a pencil, draw a 20cm circle on a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Place the baking paper, pencil-side down, on a lightly greased baking tray.

Spoon the meringue mixture into the circle to make a neat round.

Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C and bake for 1 hour.

Turn off the oven and allow to cool completely in the closed oven, overnight if possible.

To serve, place the pavlova on a cake stand or plate and top with the whipped cream, raspberries, passionfruit and peach.

Chocolate Meringues

Makes 6

Ingredients
1 x quantity no-fail meringue mixture (see recipe)
50g dark chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°

Spoon 6 x 10cm rounds of the meringue mixture onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

Swirl a little of the chocolate through each round. Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C and bake for 40 minutes.

Turn off the oven and allow to cool completely in the closed oven, overnight if possible.

Rosewater and Pistachio Meringues

Makes 6

Ingredients
¼ tsp rosewater
1 x quantity no-fail meringue mixture (see recipe)
65g slivered or chopped pistachios

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°

Add the rosewater to the meringue mixture and whisk to combine.

Spoon 6 x 10cm rounds onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and top with the pistachios.

Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C and bake for 40 minutes.

Turn off the oven and allow to cool completely in the closed oven, overnight if possible.

Raspberry Meringues

Makes 6

Ingredients
130g frozen raspberries, thawed and blitzed to a puree
110g caster sugar
1 x quantity no-fail meringue mixture (see recipe)

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°

Strain the raspberry into a small saucepan. Set over medium heat, add the sugar, and stir until dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Spoon 6 x 10cm rounds of the meringue mixture onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Swirl a little of the raspberry through each round.

Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C and bake for 40 minutes.

Turn off the oven and allow to cool completely in the closed oven, overnight if possible.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Serves 8

Ingredients
1 x shortcrust pastry case
480g store-bought lemon curd
1 x quantity no-fail meringue mixture (see recipe)

Method
Preheat the oven grill to high.

Place the pastry case on an oven tray. Pour the lemon curd into the pastry case and smooth the top, using a palette knife.

Spoon the meringue mixture over the lemon curd and grill for 2–3 minutes, or until the peaks of the meringue are golden-brown (alternatively, use a small hand-held kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue).

To serve, allow to cool, then place the pie on a cake stand or plate and slice.

Recipes from Basics to Brilliance by Donna Hay, published by Harper Collins

Tips from Donna

Making meringue is a science. Be sure to measure your ingredients carefully, including the egg whites as egg sizes do vary.

Fresh, room temperature eggs work best – when whisked they’ll become fluffy and voluminous, plus they’re more stable during baking.

Be patient when gradually adding the sugar to the egg whites. Each tablespoon of sugar should be dissolved before the next is added.

Take care not to over-whisk the meringue mixture – it’s ready when it’s thick, glossy, smooth and there are no more sugar granules. You can check this by rubbing a little mixture between your thumb and forefinger.

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