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Meringue. Meringue! MERINGUE!

May 5, 2012

I’m so ridiculously proud of this, it isn’t true. I gave up on meringue years ago because I could never get past the stage where you beat the egg whites until they form soft (or stiff, depending on the recipe) peaks. Soft peaks? Stiff peaks? What is this mysterious alchemy? I could never get past goopy egg-snot with a few bubbles in it.

There was clearly a trick to this that I wasn’t getting. Everyone told me that the secret is to make sure both the whisk and the container you use are spotlessly free of any fat or grease – grease, they declared, will stop it working properly. I was willing to believe them, but also unwilling to put in more effort than I already had in getting the bloody equipment clean. If a good wash in hot soapy water wasn’t doing the trick then I wasn’t interested.

So today I had some leftover egg whites today from a strawberry cake I was making, and the baking book was already open, so I shrugged and decided to give it another whirl. Can’t hurt.

It turns out that the trick, the secret that I wasn’t getting is salt. A pinch of salt in the mix and I was away – soft peaks, tick. Stiff peaks, tick. Even the moment when I took a hand off the jug to reach for the sugar, forgetting to stop whizzing the electric whisk, and then turned back to find bits of beaten egg all over the microwave, the fridge, the counter, the floor and me – even that moment didn’t mess up the alchemy. Meringue. Meringue! MERINGUE!

So I whipped up some cream – my new found confidence in the power of whisking grows by the minute – and halved some strawberries – and…
Wow, those Etonians know a thing or two and that’s for sure.

Incidentally, did I mention I also made strawberry cake? I’m taking this to a party tomorrow afternoon, and I just hope it tastes as good as it looks!


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