"Uncle Algie came round for dinner, and he was hanging me out of an upstairs window by the ankles when my Great Aunt Enid offered him a meringue and he accidently let go" (Sorcerer's Stone 125).
Poor Neville! But at least he bounced (and realized he's not a squib!)! So today, in honor of our dear Neville, we shall make Meringues.
Meringues are super simple to make, but somehow are a very sophisticated sweet (perhaps it's their French origin?). Dinah Bucholz includes an excellent meringue recipe in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, so that is the recipe we shall use!
You Will Need:
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.
2. Combine the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft mounds form.
3. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff but glossy. If the meringue is dry and cottony or curdled-looking, it's overbeaten and you'll have to start again. Likewise, if it's underbeaten, the meringues will never set. A good test: hold the bowl on it's side. If the meringue sticks to the bottom and doesn't move, it's ready!
4. Fill a pastry bag (or a ziplock bag with a corner cut off) fitted with a plain or star tip (or none at all, mine didn't create much of a shape) with the meringue mix and pipe little blobs, swirls, kisses, whatever you fancy, onto the prepared cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 1 hour, rotating the pans and switching shelves halfway through the baking time. Leave the meringues in the oven for another hour to dry out. Discard any leftover meringue mixture, it won't keep long enough for you to use it.
Pop the meringues in an airtight container to store them. Serve them up for your next gathering and enjoy while thinking of heroic Neville's precious/tragic/awkward childhood!