- 4 egg whites (room temperature)
- 1 cup caster sugar
- pinch of salt (can be substituted with Cream of Tartar)
- green food dye
- sugar stars (found in cake decorating section of supermarket)
- rainbow chocolate chips
How to do it:
- Preheat oven to 120°C. Measure and prepare all your ingredients
- Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Have all the required utensils on hand. An electric stand mixer or electric hand beaters with a whisk attachment or a hand balloon whisk can be used to whisk the egg whites. They will all give good results but the texture of the meringue mixture will be slightly different with each.
- Place the egg whites, food dye & salt in a large, clean, dry mixing bowl. It is best to use a stainless steel, glass, ceramic or copper bowl for whisking egg whites & not plastic as traces of fat are difficult to remove from plastic bowls. Use an electric mixer or electric hand beaters to whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking until just combined. The sugar should be added gradually but there is no need to whisk well after each addition.
- After the last of the sugar has been, added, continue to whisk for a further 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and glossy, all the sugar has dissolved and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted. The best way to test if all the sugar has dissolved is to rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger.
- Place the mix into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, this will help create the ripples/texture on the side of the trees when piping them onto the baking paper. Pipe them in a conical shape onto the baking paper then decorate them with the sugar stars & rainbow chips.
- Place the meringues into the oven and reduce the temperature to 90°C. When you place the meringues in the oven, the initial slightly higher temperature sets their outsides. The lower temperature then dries the meringues rather than bakes them. Leave the oven on for 1 1/2 hours or until the meringues are crisp and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven - this will take 3-4 hours.
- The most important thing to remember when making meringues is that moisture is their greatest enemy. Therefore, don't make meringues on humid or rainy days. Also, avoid making them when doing other cooking. Moisture in the air will prevent them from drying completely and will make them "weep".
- Bring your eggs to room temperature before using them - cold egg whites incorporate less air than those at room temperature. When you separate the egg whites from the yolks, separate each egg into a small dish or ramekin rather than straight into a large bowl. Transfer the whites and yolks to different bowls before. separating the remaining eggs. This way, if a yolk breaks into a white, you will not spoil all four egg whites.
- Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachment/s are free of any water, or fat such as butter, oil or egg yolks, as this will inhibit the egg whites from incorporating air and producing a good volume.