Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Here's a recipe that's been in my family for many decades. My mom's mom used to make it, and now my mom and I make it. It's extremely simple to prepare, with very few ingredients and very few steps.
You do need to be familiar with how to beat egg whites. I always use my KitchenAid standmixer with the whisk attachment, though a glass bowl is probably the best material for beating egg whites. Just stay away from using a plastic or melamine bowl since it's much harder to get grease off those materials and grease will destroy your egg whites. Speaking of grease, fats in general will ruin the egg whites, so be sure you don't have ANY yolk in the bowl. You'll also need to watch the mixture as you beat it because if you're not careful and you overmix it, your peaks will come and go and then they're unsalvageable. Epicurious has a useful video on how to do this.
Surprise Meringues are great year round, but they are also ideal for Passover since, first of all, it's not a bad idea to have an egg white dessert to go with your otherwise fattening feast, and of course, secondly, there's no flour. The recipe doubles easily, and that's usually what I do since it's pretty normal to go through one batch of these in a night (er, hour).
Maybe you've had meringues before from a bakery, or at someone else's house. I'm going to make a cocky statement and say unequivocably you haven't had a good meringue until you've had this one. It's chewy and gooey, not a crispy crumbly dry mess like most meringues.
Recipe from my bubbe
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 small package chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped nuts, optional
Beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, vanilla to soft peaks. Add sugar gradually and beat till stiff. Fold in chips and nuts, if desired. Cover baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Makes 2 dozen cookies.