Delia Smith Meringue Recipe

Delia Smith Meringue Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 45 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

Meringues are one of the most popular desserts in the world and for a good reason. They are light, fluffy, crispy, and chewy, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is hard to resist. They are also very versatile, as you can pair them with different fruits, creams, sauces, and toppings to create endless variations.

In this article, I will show you how to make Delia Smith’s meringue recipe, step by step, with tips and tricks along the way. You will learn how to whip the egg whites, how to add the sugar, how to shape and bake the meringues, and how to serve them with delicious toppings.

What is Delia Smith Meringue?

Delia Smith meringue is a recipe for making perfect meringues, following the method and tips of the famous British chef Delia Smith. Meringues are desserts made from whipped egg whites and sugar, baked in a low oven until crisp and dry on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. Delia Smith’s meringue is easy to make, versatile, and delicious.

delia smith meringue recipe

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What Makes Delia Smith’s Meringue Recipe Special?

  • Foolproof Method: This recipe is incredibly user-friendly. Adhering to Delia Smith’s guidelines ensures perfect meringues every time, eliminating common pitfalls like over or under-whisking.
  • Versatility: The recipe’s adaptability is one of its greatest strengths. Meringues can be shaped and sized variably, complemented with a myriad of toppings and fillings. They also serve as a base for other desserts like Eton mess or pavlova.
  • Delicious Outcome: The meringues boast a delightful combination of textures – crispy, chewy, and airy. They can be paired with a range of flavors, from fruity to chocolatey, making each bite a delightful experience.

What You Need to Make Delia Smith’s Meringue Recipe

To make Delia Smith’s meringue recipe, you will need the following ingredients and equipment:

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A large, clean, grease-free mixing bowl
  • An electric whisk or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
  • A tablespoon
  • A baking sheet
  • Baking parchment or a non-stick liner
  • A piping bag and a star nozzle (optional)

Instructions to Make Delia Smith Meringue Recipe – Step-by-Step

Here are the steps to make Delia Smith’s meringue recipe, with detailed explanations and pictures:

Step 1: Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Baking Sheet

  • Preheat your oven to 150°C (Gas Mark 2).
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick liner. This step ensures easy removal of meringues later on.

Step 2: Separate the Eggs and Whisk the Egg Whites

  • Carefully separate the eggs, placing the whites in a large mixing bowl. Make sure no yolk or shell fragments mix with the whites, as they can hinder proper whisking.
  • Use an electric whisk or stand mixer with a whisk attachment for efficiency.
  • Begin at a slow speed, gradually increasing to high until stiff peaks form. The peaks should be firm enough to hold their shape but be careful not to over-whisk, as this can dry out and weaken the whites.

Step 3: Add the Sugar and Whisk Again

  • For 3 egg whites, measure 175 g of caster sugar (50 g per white). Caster sugar is ideal for its fine texture.
  • Gradually add the sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon, while continuing to whisk at high speed. This gradual addition ensures the sugar dissolves completely, resulting in a stiff, glossy mixture.
  • To test, rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers; it should feel smooth, not gritty.

Step 4: Shape and Bake the Meringues

  • Shape the meringues according to your preference: small or large, simple dollops or elaborate shapes using a piping bag with a star nozzle.
  • Place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving space between each.
  • Place the sheet in the preheated oven, then immediately lower the temperature to 140°C (Gas Mark 1). This reduced heat helps to dry the meringues without excessive browning.
  • Baking times vary approximately 30 minutes for small meringues, 45 minutes for medium, and 60 minutes for large. They are done when they lift off easily and are crisp outside but still chewy inside.
  • After baking, turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside until it cools completely. This step helps them dry out further, reducing the risk of cracking or collapsing.

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What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Meringue?

Delia Smith’s meringues are a canvas for a variety of delightful toppings. Whether you’re aiming for simplicity or extravagance, these suggestions cater to all tastes:

  • Whipped Cream: A traditional favorite, whipped cream adds a luxurious texture to meringues. For added depth, infuse the cream with vanilla extract or a hint of sugar. Alternatively, serve it unsweetened to balance the meringue’s sweetness.
  • Fresh Fruits: Elevate your meringues with the vibrant flavors of fresh fruits. Be it strawberries, blueberries, or exotic kiwis, they bring a burst of freshness. For an extra touch, drizzle a homemade fruit coulis, crafted from blended fruits, sugar, and lemon juice, atop your meringues.
  • Chocolate Sauce: Indulge in the rich, sweet notes of chocolate sauce. Homemade with melted chocolate, cream, and butter, or simply a store-bought version, this topping adds a decadent twist. Enhance the texture with chocolate shavings or chips.
  • Caramel Sauce: Caramel sauce introduces a lush, gooey element. Create your own by gently melting sugar, water, and butter, then blending in cream and a pinch of salt. For a crunchy contrast, top your meringues with chopped nuts or a sprinkle of sea salt flakes.
  • Lemon Curd: Add a tangy zest with lemon curd. This bright, citrusy topping, homemade or store-bought, complements the meringue’s sweetness. Garnish with lemon slices or zest for an extra decorative touch.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Meringue

Achieving the perfect meringue is an art. Here are some expert tips based on Delia Smith’s tried-and-true methods:

  • Egg Selection: Use fresh, large eggs at room temperature. They whip better and incorporate more air. Pasteurized egg whites are an alternative, but avoid liquid egg whites with additives.
  • Egg Separation: Separate eggs meticulously, ensuring no yolk or shell remains in the whites. Any fat can hinder the formation of air bubbles.
  • Utensil Cleanliness: Use a grease-free bowl and whisk. Any residual fat can impede the egg whites from reaching their full volume. Glass, metal, or ceramic bowls are recommended over plastic.
  • Gradual Whisking: Start at a low speed and gradually increase to a high. This method helps form stable, uniform air bubbles.
  • Sugar Addition: Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, ensuring full dissolution for a smooth, glossy texture. Use caster, superfine, or baker’s sugar, avoiding powdered or icing sugar due to its cornstarch content.
  • Oven Temperature: Preheat then lower the oven temperature. This gentle heat perfectly dries the meringues without over-browning.
  • Post-Baking: Let meringues cool in the oven to prevent collapsing. Store them in an airtight container for up to a week.

Variations of Delia Smith Meringue

Delia Smith’s meringue recipe offers a foundation for creative adaptations.

Here are some innovative ideas:

  • Chocolate Meringues: Introduce a chocolatey twist with cocoa powder or melted chocolate mixed into the meringue. Add chocolate chips or shavings for texture.
  • Nutty Meringues: Enhance the meringues with chopped, possibly toasted nuts like almonds, pistachios, or walnuts for a nutty flavor and crunch.
  • Spiced Meringues: Infuse warmth with spices like cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. Citrus zest adds a refreshing note.
  • Meringue Nests: Create nests by shaping circles with hollow centers, perfect for filling with cream or fruits.
  • Meringue Shells: Fashion half-sphere shells, ideal for sandwiching with delightful fillings.
  • Meringue Kisses: Craft small, peak-shaped kisses for a charming bite-sized treat. Pair them with complementary fillings for a delightful experience.

How do I store Delia Smith Meringue Leftovers?

Proper storage of Delia Smith meringue leftovers is key to maintaining their quality. Here’s how to keep them fresh for up to a week:

  • Cooling: Ensure meringues are completely cool before storage. This step is crucial to prevent them from becoming moist or sticky.
  • Selecting the Right Container: Use an airtight container that’s spacious enough to accommodate the meringues without squashing them. Tins or boxes can be used, provided they are airtight.
  • Lining the Container: Line the container with baking parchment or wax paper. This prevents the meringues from sticking to the container’s base and sides. If you’re stacking meringues, place paper layers between them to prevent sticking.
  • Storage Conditions: Store the container in a cool, dry location, away from any sources of heat or moisture. While refrigeration is an option, ensure the container is sealed tightly to avoid flavor absorption from other foods.
  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended for meringues, as it adversely affects their texture and flavor.

delia smith meringue recipe

How do I reheat Delia Smith Meringue Leftovers?

Occasionally, you might want to revive the crispness of leftover meringues.

Here’s how to gently reheat them:

  • Oven Preparation: Preheat your oven to 100°C (gas mark 1/4). Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with baking parchment or a non-stick liner.
  • Arranging Meringues: Place the meringues on the sheet, ensuring there’s space between each. This allows even heating and prevents the meringues from sticking together.
  • Baking Time: Warm the meringues for about 5 to 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to avoid overbaking, which could result in dryness and brittleness.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve the reheated meringues as is, or enhance them with your favorite toppings or fillings for an added touch of indulgence.

Nutrition value per meringue (based on 3 egg whites and 175 g sugar, which makes 12 meringues):

  • Calories: 73 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 13 mg
  • Potassium: 18 mg
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Calcium: 2 mg
  • Iron: 0 mg

FAQs

How do I prevent the meringues from cracking or collapsing?

You need to follow Delia’s method of baking, which involves preheating the oven to 150°C (gas mark 2), then reducing the temperature to 140°C (gas mark 1) as soon as you put the meringues in. You also need to leave the meringues in the oven until it is completely cold, to allow them to dry out further. You can also leave the oven door slightly ajar, to let out some steam and prevent the meringues from cracking.

Can I use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar for Delia Smith’s Meringue Recipe?

Yes, you can use granulated sugar, but caster sugar is preferred because of its finer texture. Caster sugar dissolves more easily in egg whites, creating a smoother, glossier meringue. If using granulated sugar, ensure it’s fully dissolved during whisking to avoid a gritty texture.

How do I know when the meringues are done baking?

The baking time for meringues can vary based on their size and your oven. Generally, they are done when they lift off the baking sheet without sticking and feel crisp to the touch on the outside while still being soft and chewy on the inside. If unsure, you can gently tap the bottom of a meringue; it should sound hollow.

My meringues came out chewy inside. Did I do something wrong?

Chewy interiors in meringues are often due to either under-baking or excessive humidity. Ensure that they are baked long enough to dry out sufficiently and store them in an airtight container to protect them from moisture. Also, avoid making meringues on very humid days as the moisture in the air can affect the texture.

Can I make Delia Smith’s Meringues in advance? How long will they last?

Yes, meringues are a great make-ahead dessert. When stored properly in an airtight container at room temperature, they can last for up to a week. Ensure they are completely cool before storing them to maintain their texture. Avoid refrigerating or freezing, as this can cause them to become chewy or soggy.

Final Words

Delia Smith’s meringue recipe is a classic and foolproof way to make perfect meringues every time. You just need to follow her simple steps and tips, and you will end up with light, fluffy, crispy, and chewy meringues that you can enjoy in many different ways. Meringues are a great dessert for any occasion, as they are easy to make, versatile, and delicious.

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