Halloween is tomorrow so hopefully you
will have time to try this recipe for Halloween. If not for this
season, you can save the idea for next year. If you aren't into
ghosts, the great thing about this recipe is that the meringue can be
shaped into so many different shapes. For Christmas, try edible
trees or candy canes!
For this meringue recipe all you need
is egg whites, salt, cream of tarter, and powdered sugar. And a
couple silver sprinkles (or dabs of chocolate or seeds) for the eyes.
But the real payoff is in the process. There are few things more
satisfying to me in the culinary realm than watching a couple sudsy
looking egg-whites turn into elegantly structured, glossy,
Recipe - This recipe makes about 12 meringues
It is important to let your egg whites come to room temperature, this will help you get the most volume. Also, make sure all your bowls, whisk, etc are spotlessly clean and free of any grease.
2 egg whites, room temperature
tiny pinch of salt
Tiny pinch of cream of tartar
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Tiny silver candy sprinkles (chocolate or little seeds) for eyes
1 dark chocolate bar, melted (optional)
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
pastry bag with 1//2-inch tip
Preheat oven to 200F, racks in the middle.
Get everything ready ahead of time. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat mat. It helps to set up your pastry bag in a tall empty glass to make it easier to fill. Have a spatula on hand.
Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a large, clean mixing bowl. Start whisking the egg whites at medium speed in a large bowl with an electric mixer or Kitchen-Aid. This stage is all about watching and letting the egg whites tell you what to do next and you have to be nice to them to get them to transform - so avoid turning your mixer on and off. When the whites are frothy and have a bit of volume to them, start sprinkling in the sugar a bit at a time over a minute or two - leaving the mixer on the entire time.
Keep mixing, it usually takes about 15 -20 minutes to get the volume you need, but numerous variables can effect this time - weather, temperature of the whites, etc. The whites will become glossy and their appearance will resemble marshmallow cream, keep going. At this point you need much more volume out of the whites, try to imagine making a dozen 2-inch cookies out of the mixture. Whisk, whisk, whisk. You will start to see the volume really start to increase, the whisk will be leaving more definitive trail in the meringue. At this point, it is good to gradually slow down the whisk and see if you can lift it out of the meringue while leaving a stiff structured peak. Because you are going to pipe this out onto the cookie sheets, you need it to have lots of structure.
Working gently (but quickly) fill the pastry bay -or alternately, a large plastic freezer bag with the corner snipped off - using the spatula. Try to avoid lots of air pockets in the pastry bag, they make piping much more difficult. Close the bag by rolling the top down a few times.
Now pipe about 12 ghost shapes onto the prepared baking sheets. It is suggested that you make tiny circles all the way up to obtain the right shape. Press the candy silver balls one at a time into your pointer finger and place them on the ghost - again, quickly but carefully.
Place the meringue in the oven for an hour. After an hour, open the oven door an inch or two and cook for another 30 minutes. At this point, they shouldn't be gummy or wobbly to the touch. If they are still too moist, leave them in the oven until they aren't. Turn off the oven, and leave the meringues in there until it comes down to room temperature.
You can dip them in a bit of chocolate and then shredded coconut to add even more fun to these cute ghosts!
If you are storing them, do so in an air-tight container.
Source: 101Cookbooks, David Lebovitz