Versatile Meringue Nests
We love meringue! The combination of whipped egg whites and sugar can form the basis for Italian and Swiss meringue buttercream, top pies, become a component in many traditional patisserie recipes or baked until crisp into cookies or meringue nests (or shells, as they are sometimes labeled). These Meringue Nests can act as vessels for everything from sorbet, fresh fruit, ice cream (lactose-free), whipped cream or you can see how we used them in our Meringue Nests with Yogurt Lemon Curd & Berries.
They are easy to make and can be made several days ahead, if and only if you store in an absolute airtight container. Any humidity will wreak havoc with these.
I do like to use superfine sugar to make these. If you do not have any on hand, you can buzz your regular white granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with a metal blade to make your own superfine sugar. Also see Tips for more information.
Form & Function
As described, the function of these Meringue Nests is to hold some sort of yummy low FODMAP filling, but their look (form) can vary. You can use two spoons to dollop them out onto your prepared pan, as seen below, or they can be piped with a star tip, as seen in the two images, up top.
Are You a Chocolate Fanatic?
If I am going to fill them with lemon curd, I usually leave them plain. If you want to make the chocolate speckled ones as seen above, simply fold in 1 ounce (30 g) of grated unsweetened chocolate into the finished meringue before you pipe (or spread) out the individual nests. The chocolate speckled (freckled?) versions are incredible filled with a little whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
Makes 10 meringue nests; 1 per serving
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup superfine sugar (see Tips)
- Preheat oven to 200°F (95°C). Line a baking sheet pan with parchment and trace 10, 2 1/2-inch (6 cm) circles onto paper. Flip paper over.
- In a clean, grease-free bowl whip egg whites with balloon whisk attachment of stand mixer on low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating, turning speed to high, until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually and beat until meringue is stiff and glossy. (If using a hand-held mixer, simply beat longer and use visual cues).
- Scoop into a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip such as a Wilton 1M or 4B. Starting in the center of a traced circle, start piping concentric circles until the outline is filled. Then, along the outside edge of the circle, pipe a ring above the first, making a sidewall of meringue. Alternatively, simple scoop out with 2 spoons, creating nests and use spoons to make a well in the center of each nest.
- Bake for about 2 hours or until completely dry and crisp to the touch, rotating pan front to back once during baking. Cool pan on wire rack. Store shells in a dry place for up to a week.
- The piped nests seen in the top image were made with organic cane sugar, which has a slightly beige color. The ones shaped with a spoon were made with white granulated sugar.
- This recipe can be easily doubled for a larger number of people; just make sure you have another baking sheet pan.