The first time I tried a meringue was when I was in my teens, but the first time I fell in love with a meringue was 3 years ago in Barcelona (see below picture). These were no ordinary meringues — they were super tall swirls of sweet goodness with a crisp outer shell and a soft and chewy center. Absolute perfection.
I was inspired by those sky-high meringues, so I created my own! They aren’t nearly as tall as the ones I found in Barcelona, but they are equally as delicious.
Using vanilla bean seeds instead of vanilla extract really makes the flavour in the meringues pop. Of course, the food colouring is optional, but it really does make the meringues look extra pretty.
Serve on pretty plates and enjoy! Happy baking!
Vanilla Meringue Clouds
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 15 – 20 meringues
6 egg whites (I use boxed egg whites), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (or caster/superfine sugar)
seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean
large pinch of salt
large pinch of cream of tartar
pink gel-paste food colour
lemon juice, for wiping the bowl
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Wipe the bowl of a stand mixer, the whip attachment and a whisk with a little lemon juice. This will get rid of any residual grease or fats that will destroy your meringue. Place the egg whites, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of the stand mixer and place over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly, until the mixture is very warm and the sugar has dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the salt and cream of tartar. Attach the bowl to the mixer, add the whip attachment and whip the egg mixture on medium-high speed until a stiff meringue forms, about 10 minutes. Add a few drops of the pink gel-paste food colour to the meringue and continue whipping until blended.
Fit a piping bag with your choice of tip (I used a 1B), spoon in some of the meringue into the bag and pipe swirls, just like you would on top of a cupcake (I usually leave about 1 inch between each meringue). Bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the outsides of the meringue are firm and crisp and they lift off of the parchment easily.
Best eaten within 3 days. Storage is up to you: I’ve left them out on a cake stand for a few days and they’ve been fine, and I’ve also kept them in an airtight container and they’ve been fine as well. Leaving them out may not work so well if you live in a humid climate.