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2 December 2014

Meringues


I often get leftover egg whites from recipes that only need the egg yolk. Rather than throwing them away or making a very boring breakfast, I’ve started making meringues! I used to think it was difficult to get the recipe right, but it turns out that’s not the case at all! All you need is some sugar, 10 minutes of your time and a decent oven. :)






























Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites 
  • 115g of caster sugar 
  • 115g of icing sugar 

  1. Pre-heat an oven to 100 degrees (fan). It is important to get the temperature exactly right, because if it’s off even slightly the meringues will be ruined. My oven is a dirty, dirty liar and even though it says “100 degrees” it’s not, so I have to heat up mine to 110. I found that out the hard way… 
  2. Place the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl (not a plastic one!). Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they start to stiffen and you get soft peaks. 
  3. Start adding the caster sugar, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, whisking the mixture for about 30-60 seconds between each time, to make sure all the sugar is properly mixed in. It’s important to add the sugar gradually, to prevent your meringues from weeping later. 
  4. Once all the caster sugar is mixed in, add 1/3 of the icing sugar. Using a spoon, gently fold the icing sugar into the egg whites. Now whisk it again for about 1-2 minutes, until it’s completely mixed in. Add another 1/3 of the icing sugar, fold in and whisk. Repeat the 3rd time and whisk until all the sugar is mixed in and the whites are thick and glossy. 
  5. Spoon the mixture onto a baking tray covered with baking or grease-proof paper, forming meringues. Place in the oven and bake for 1h 30 min (1h 45 min if your meringues are larger). You’ll know they’re ready when they start turning from white to very slightly golden colour. 
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and serve to your liking. 




I didn’t have the time to make anything fancy, so I simply put some chocolate spread and jam between 2 meringues and made little ‘sandwiches’.































This is what a meringue looks like if the oven temperature is too low. They leak a sugar syrup, which is still edible, but doesn't look very appetising. If this happens, next time you're making meringues try turning the oven temperature up by 10-20 degrees.


Chocolate Orange Mince Pies


These pies have been seriously popular recently! I had to make 4 batches in just two weeks due to popular demand :) I'm not complaining ;)







Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 200g plain flour 
  • 100g icing sugar 
  • 50g cocoa 
  • 150g unsalted butter, cold, cut up into cubes 
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 1 tbsp of cold water 


For the filling

  • 1 jar of mincemeat (411g) 
  • Zest of 1 orange 
  • 75g or dried cranberries 
  • Milk chocolate (1 piece per pie) 

  1. First, prepare the filling. Mix the mincemeat, orange zest and cranberries in a bowl. 
  2. Now for the pastry: Sieve through the flour, icing sugar and cocoa into a large bowl. 
  3. Add butter and rub together until you get the texture of fine breadcrumbs. 
  4. Add the egg yolks and 1 tbsp of water. Mix together roughly with a knife. Using your hands, knead the pastry until you get a firm, uniform ball. 
  5. Roll out one half of the pastry so that it’s about 4mm thick. You may want to lightly dust the surface with plain flour before you do it, so that the pastry doesn’t stick, but be careful not to use too much flour as it will mix in to the pastry and dry it out. 
  6. Take a muffin or pie tin and lightly butter it. Depending of the size of your muffin tin, this recipe should make between 8 and 12 pies. Heat up the oven to 170 degrees (fan). 
  7. Using a round cookie cutter or a large glass, cut out pastry circles slightly bigger than your muffin trays and line each with the pastry. 
  8. Fill the pies with the mincemeat mixture and place a piece of milk chocolate on top of each. 
  9. Now roll out the rest of the pastry and cut out slightly smaller circles to cover the pies. If you have any leftover pastry, cut out little starts to decorate the pies. With a skewer or a pointy knife, make a couple of small holes in the top of each pie to allow hot air to escape. 
  10. Bake the pies for 15 minutes. 



I had quite a lot of pastry left over, so I cut out more shapes and placed them on a baking tray, to make cookies. I baked them together with the pies. Once they cooled down, I sprinkled them with a bit of icing sugar and put some raspberry jam on them, and made ‘cookie-jam sandwiches’ – delicious!




I also had 2 egg whites left over from this recipe, which I used to make meringues. Click here to find out how.