Thursday, May 28, 2009

When life gives you egg whites, make meringues

I ended up this morning with four egg whites and I can't throw away four egg whites. Nope can't do it. I've tried, I've even froze them thinking I'd do something at a later date and since I already have frozen egg whites that are from the Clinton administration I figured I better use these. Don't try to understand me, just feel sorry for me.

Even though I've collected a dozen recipes for meringues I'd never made any of them. Oh, I've eaten my fair share. There is a lovely bakery in Westlake that make a coconut meringue cookie that is to die for but I've never tried until this morning when I ended up with four egg whites. How I ended up with four egg whites is another post that I will hopefully finish this weekend but you've seen my track record lately, don't get too excited.

Now, the most important thing about meringues is don't open the oven. Sheesh, what a test of my patience. My sister makes a wonderful roast prime rib that you cook for a while, turn the oven off, and let it rest for a few hours. Holy Cats. She had to tie the oven door shut so I wouldn't, you know, just check on it. So here I am with my cookies tucked neatly into their warm little beds and me on the outside tapping on the glass, Open, Open, Open ...

Here's the recipe I used. Could not be more simple, it's just the damn waiting.

Pecan Meringue cookies

Notes on working with egg whites. Before you start, remove eggs from refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. (A couple of hours will do, or if you are rushed for time, immerse them in warm water for 10 minutes.) Make sure that all bowls, hands, and utensils that might touch the eggs are clean and free from oils.

* 1 cup whole pecans (preferably lightly roasted - 8-10 min at 250°F)
* 3 egg whites
* Pinch salt
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Place pecans in zipper baggie and beat them with a wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Set aside.

Put egg whites into a stand mixer bowl. Add salt. Start the mixer speed on low, gradually increasing the speed until soft peaks start to become visible and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Increase the speed to medium-high, and slowly add the sugar to the egg whites. Continue to whip the eggs and sugar for a few minutes. Then add the vinegar to the bowl. Increase speed to high and whip the egg whites until they fluff up and become glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4-5 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pecan pieces. Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or Silpat. (I piped them from the same plastic bag the nuts were in after cutting off a corner)

Put the cookies sheet in the 300°F oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Leave them in the oven overnight. In the morning they should be ready - crisp on the outside, light and airy on the inside. If they are a little marshmallowy or chewy on the inside in the morning, just let them dry out for a few more hours. Makes 12-24 cookies, depending on the size.

Editors note: I did finally get the photos posted. It's not easy taking a snap of something white in something glass. Should be a photo assignment somewhere. The cookies are wonderful. Not too sweet and light and airy.


Doodles said...

I will not show this to your brother in law..........meringues are a BIG favorite

Moon said...

Oh, wonder if I could send him some? They are quite fragile.