Playful, colorful and fun. This Easter Egg Nest Meringue is light, with crunchy exterior shell and nice chewy center, just how a Meringue should be.
If you are looking for a fun Easter treat to make, try this Easter Egg Nest Meringue. I had this in my list since last year (just right after Easter) and I had been itching to share this with you. It’s basically a flavored Meringue cookie that has been decorated with colored Easter egg chocolate candies. Meringue cookie is one of the easiest cookie to make and it uses only few ingredients. The base of the Meringue cookie is an egg white that has been whipped to stiff peaks. It’s basically a 3 ingredient cookie if you are making it plain, but knowing me I always go for variations. It’s good plain, serve with fresh fruits like Pavlova or add some twist by adding flavoring in it. Let us talk about Meringue a little bit more.
What is a Meringue?
Meringue is a type of dessert made from whipping egg whites until stiff peaks, then baked in low temperature for a long hours. It can be made in 3 different methods: French, Italian and Swiss all of which uses the same ingredients but varies on the style on how it is done. Meringue can be made big or small bite size cookies and can be colored and flavored in variety of ways.
3 Methods of Making Meringue
French Meringue is the most basic and easiest technique among the three. This is also the same technique used when making French Macarons and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Basically, this is just beating egg whites, sugar and stabilizing agent (like cream of tartar) until it reach stiff peaks. Normally, this is piped to create different shapes and sizes then baked low and slow in the oven until it dries out. This technique produces the least stable meringue and should be used immediately after whipping.
Italian Meringue This technique needs a little bit of practice to get the hang of it. You will need to have a candy thermometer for this. The technique involved boiling the sugar and water until the mixture reaches 400F, then gradually pouring it over egg white while continuously beating it until it reach stiff peaks and becomes silky smooth. This type of Meringue is best used for toppings on pies. So far, this is the most stable among the three techniques, and can also be used and eaten even without baking it, just like when used as buttercream frosting. It may sound intimidating, but then again, practice makes perfect. This is a very handy technique to know when it comes to baking. In fact, I used this technique for my Italian Macarons and I found out that though it has additional steps , it turned out to me more forgiving, and the Macarons turned more stable than when I used French technique.
Swiss Meringue This technique is quite similar with Italian Meringue technique, only this doesn’t require direct cooking or melting of sugar. The sugar and egg white are cooked over a simmering water until it reaches 160F. It is then transferred to the mixer for whipping until it reach the stiff peaks stage.
Tips for a Successful Meringue
- Keep egg whites and ALL equipment free from fat – What this means is that your egg white should not contain any bit of egg yolk as possible. The easiest way to avoid having a yolk into the white it to separate the egg white and egg yolk while it is still cold then let it sit in room temperature for 30 minutes before using. All the equipment (bowl and whisk) should be free from grease and should be totally dry. This helps achieving maximum volume when whipping the egg white
- Do not use plastic mixing bowl – Plastic mixing bowl are porous and can hold grease easily, and grease can hold the egg white from reaching stiff peak.s
- Room temperature egg white – This is a MUST if you want to a nice glossy stiff peaks. Room temperature egg white whips better as compared cold one.
- Add sugar gradually – Do not dump the sugar one time. Add it slowly, feeling the mixture for any grainy texture, in the end it should be smooth and silky and free from grainy bits of the sugar. I find that using caster sugar is better because it has finer texture and it dissolves easily.
- Stabilizer – Small amount of stabilizer will go a long way in keeping the meringue hold its shape. A common stabilizer is cream of tartar. If you do not have one, you can use a small amount of plain white vinegar or lemon juice. For this batch size, about 1/2 tsp.
- Drying process – Meringue unlike any other cookie requires longer baking time. More than baking, it is a drying process. Give the Meringue time to dry inside the oven. This will give a nice crispy shell and a soft chewy center, just how a Meringue should be.
- 1 egg white, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Chocolate Ganache or any melted chocolate
- Food Coloring of your choice – I used gel food coloring
- Easter Candies for decorating
- Sprinkles for decorating
Note: For bigger batch, the ratio should be 1/4 sugar for every egg white (1 egg)
- Preheat your oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk Egg White: Begin whisking the egg whites with the whisk attachment on medium speed for 3 minutes until the mixture starts to become fluffy and bubbles starts to form. In my kitchen Aid mixer, it’s the setting 4. You can also use a hand mixer.
- Stabilizer: Add cream of tartar
- Increase speed (Kitchen Aid settings 6) and gradually add 1 tbsp of sugar in 10 seconds interval. The foam and air bubbles will start to tighten and the whites will become opaque. The “soft plop” stage describes eggs whites that hold onto the whisk but do not form peaks, it still fall when you flip the whisk.
- Add the remaining sugar as the whites turn into “soft peaks.” Continue adding in the sugar until the whites begin to form soft peaks. Here, the whites will begin to hold their shape, but will eventually slump over and melt back into the bowl. Getting there, but not yet there.
- Increase the speed to medium-high. After the whites begin to hold their shape, bump up the mixer to medium-high until they hold firm peaks.
- Watch for the “firm peaks” stage. Firm peaks are achieved when whites hold their shape. If you pull the whisk straight out of the bowl, a peak will form. At this stage, the tip of the peak will fold back over onto itself.
- Watch for the “stiff peaks” stage The stiff peaks stage is what we are trying to achieve. At this point, the peaks should stand up nice and straight. The whites will be glossy and smooth. If you rub a bit between your fingertips, it should feel silky (meaning the sugar has completely dissolved.)
- Make the Chocolate Ganache or simply melt your favorite chocolate chips. Set aside to completely cool.
- Divide the Meringue: Divide the meringue into two bowl.
- Food Coloring: In one bowl, add tiny bit of food coloring and manually mix to distribute to enough to make a swirl color.
- Chocolate Ganache: (get the Full Recipe ) Spoon 2 tbsp of chocolate ganache or melted chocolate into the meringue. Gently fold but do not mix thoroughly. Leave some swirl and streak of chocolate.
- Bake for 60 to 90 minutes Depending on the size of your meringue, bake for about 60 – 90 minutes, or until the outside is crisp and the inside is dry yet chewy. They should feel light and hollow. When done, the meringue should easily peel off the parchment paper. Turn the oven off, crack the door open, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven until there is no more heat left inside the oven.
- Decorate: Put some melted chocolate on top of each Meringue then add chocolate sprinkles (optional), then more melted chocolate. Arrange candies on top.
Makes 6 medium size or 12 small size
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