At this time of year, eggs are plentiful and I’m always looking for fun, interesting ways to use them. I came across this recipe for meringues in my Martha Stewart Living Magazine a few months ago and set it aside, knowing precisely when I was going to make them. The pristine egg whites provide the perfect canvas for a Fourth of July treat. They’re super easy to make and a big hit with the kids!
3 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Large pinch of salt
Large pinch of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest (I used lemon zest)
Gel-paste food coloring, in orange (I used blue and red instead)
LET’S MAKE IT!
Preheat oven to 200° F. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl or over a double-boiler. Add vanilla bean seeds. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes. Add salt and cream of tartar.
Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and meringue is mostly cooled, about 7 minutes. Beat in zest.
Using a small paintbrush (or toothpick) line vertical stripes of food coloring inside a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (or with the end simply cut off).
Fill bag with meringue, and pipe 1 3/4-inch circular shapes (they don’t need to be perfect rounds) 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. As you finish piping each shape, apply less pressure to pastry bag, and swirl the tip off in a circular motion.
Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- When separating the eggs for this recipe, if any yolk remains in the egg whites, the whites will not whip up properly.
- This recipe is best made in low humidity.
- Parchment paper is not optional for this recipe, the meringues will stick to anything else.
- Don’t throw away the vanilla bean after scraping the seeds out, place it in a bowl of sugar and enjoy vanilla flavored sugar for months to come!