Meringue. When it’s made just right there’s something about it that seems so…ethereal…that’s the word. These “nests” are no exception and may very well be my favorite type of meringue. Crispy, crunchy on the outside, with just a bit of soft chewiness inside.
That Meringue Nests make anything served in them seem so special for so little effort. They’re absolutely easy to make but plan ahead – you need time, mostly hands off. All you need is a mixer and an oven. A pastry bag helps but in a pinch a Ziploc with a cut corner could be used or lacking that, they could be simply dolloped out with a spoon.
Meringue nests can be filled with just about anything your heart desires but today I chose a very simple yogurt and berry combination. Now look at these and tell me if you’ve ever seen a spoonful of yogurt and a few berries look so delicious!
When I’m feeling fancy I might add a little sauce; today I melted a tablespoon of jam and tossed it with the berries just to give them a little glisten.
Not only are these Meringue Nests pennies to make, “nests” of this size use three eggs, the perfect amount for the left over whites from the Chicken with Lemon and Artichokes I made earlier. That recipe uses three egg yolks, and you know I don’t want to waste those whites!
Meringue is easy to adjust up or down. The rule of thumb is 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tarter for every two egg whites and four tablespoons of sugar for each egg white.
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar, less 1 tablespoon (remove one tablespoon from the cup and don’t use it)
You will also need:
- 1 large baking sheet
- parchment paper
- a pastry bag if desired, with a large tip (or use a large Ziploc with a corner trimmed off or dollop by hand)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. On a pastry sheet, draw 8 circles, each spread out evenly with spaces between them, using something measuring three inches in diameter as a template. If your parchment is larger than the sheet, make sure you take this into consideration as your draw. Draw heavily enough so that when the parchment is turned over you’ll be able to see the lines.
Place parchment on baking sheet before you pipe. If your parchment is curling, add a dab of meringue to the corners of the baking sheet to “glue” the parchment down.
Optional, but recommended: If you have food processor or nutribullet or some other item that easily grinds food, add the sugar and process for a few seconds. This breaks down the sugar finely and helps to make a smoother meringue.
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer and the whisk attachment with a clean towel or rag dampened with vinegar or lemon juice to remove any possible traces of oil or butter. Add egg whites (free of any traces of yolk) to the mixer bowl. If the whites aren’t already at room temperature, leave until they are or place bowl in warm water for at least 15 minutes.
Mix on low-speed, preferably with a whisk attachment, until egg whites become frothy, about a minute, then add cream of tartar.
Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about one to two minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat on medium speed until sugar dissolves. Turn up to high-speed until stiff peaks form. Stiff peaks means that the peak will hold straight up and not bend over when the whisk is lifted out of the mixture. When you run a little of the mixture between your fingers, the sugar should be dissolved and little to no grittiness should be felt.
Fill the pastry bag or Ziploc bag and working from the center of each circle, pipe the meringue in circles until the circles are full and build up the sides with one or two turns around.
Bake until completely dry and crisp, but not browned, about an hour, although this can vary depending on the weather and the oven. Nests should lift from parchment with ease. Turn off oven and prop the door open about an inch (a spoon is a good implement to use) and leave for an hour or until completely cooled.
from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com
These little nests turned out to be the perfect dessert for the Lemon with Chicken and Artichokes – the recipe that used three egg yolks. I did think about how lovely these nests would be filled with lemon curd, though, if I hadn’t already used the yolks.