Let's make beautiful, gloomy meringues! Few delights are more charming or versatile. The first task is to decide which method to use – there are many options. Most of the time, I go the Swiss meringue route, which I'll explain below. Many people prefer to use the French method – where you beat the eggs until they are nice and sparkling, adding granulated sugar a little at a time. I wouldn't argue that this is the simplest method, but I like the Swiss meringue approach for a number of reasons.
Swiss meringue technique
To make the Swiss meringue, basically combine all your ingredients in a mixing bowl. Heat a syrup pan over water until smooth, then open the mixing container back into your mixer. Stir until you have a beautiful, bright, glossy meringue. It's pretty straight forward. I think cooking sugar always freaks people out, and to do it right, you need to use a thermometer, but don't let that deter you.
Why the Swiss Meringue?
Reason number one, you don't need to remember to bring your eggs to room temperature. This is important. I always forget to pull my eggs from the fridge. You don't have to worry about this if you use the Swiss approach. Secondly, I like being able to channel my meringue into somewhat complicated shapes (see photos). I have much better luck with the Swiss meringue. It is more rigid and holds ridges, dolls and blooms better. If you are trying to avoid the meringue, start here.
Keys to success
1) Use a completely clean, dry bowl, whip, spatula, etc. to get the largest volume of meringue. Any residual oils will hinder your efforts.
2) Adjust your baking time depending on whether you are like a chewier or crunchy meringue. Let them bake for a longer time. Up to a few more hours!
3) If you let your meringues bake more, just make sure they don't get any / too much color. Ways to deal with coloring: gently rotate the pans, support the door open with a wooden spoon, move the baking sheets either up or down in the oven.
4) To maintain a glossy shine and texture, do not attempt to knock on the oven door or baking sheet while baking. They may crumble a bit and end up in a broken texture.
The recipe below is a nice base recipe. Once you get the hang of it they play with different additives. I like to mix cocoa beers, toasted coconut flakes, blossomed yolks in almond extract, dried rose petals + rose, lots of mixed sesame seeds or toasted peanuts.