Barbara Kafka

Lightest Meringues

 (from The Intolerant Gourmet)

I love meringues and as they have no gluten or lactose they are a perfect snack for me. I don't like them gooey or overly sweet and am uninterested in the fancy colored ones that have recently cropped up in the fancy pastry shops and French restaurants. I hope that you will find these that I recently developed as addictive as I do. These are the meringues that I used lightly crushed to coat chunks of ripe but firm banana as a seduction.

4 large egg whites (½ cup)

¼ c sugar
Preheat the oven to 150º F with two racks inside. Cover each of two cookie sheets with a layer of parchment paper. Have ready a pastry bag with a half-inch diameter nozzle and set aside.

Place egg whites in mixer and start slowly to beat. Beat until frothy. Pour in sugar and continue to beat. Increase speed to fullest. Beat until egg whites are very stiff.

Now move quickly or the mixture will not stay ideally firm: Spoon the stiff egg whites into the pastry bag. Squeeze out two-inch long strips of meringue on the baking sheets so that they do not touch. Place both baking sheets in the oven and cook for 1½ hours.

Turn off the oven and leave meringues undisturbed for about another hour. They should be crisp and dry without being colored. Remove baking sheets from oven and slide the meringues still on their paper off onto a flat surface. Allow the meringues to cool to room temperature. Slide a metal spatula or thin ham slicer under the meringues to remove them from the paper.

Eat or store meringues in an airtight box.

Makes about 54 meringues.

Note: Three sheets can also be done at one time. The formula is one part by volume of egg whites to a half part sugar.

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