If you can believe it, I’d never made a meringue before and had the idea it would be unbelievably hard to make, but it’s actually easy! I was inspired by @julesfood’s profiterole and was determined to make a gluten free version. I used Barefoot Contessa’s recipe as a guide, and love that it only has five ingredients and is naturally gluten free. After beating until frothy, you spoon them onto parchment and slow cook them in the oven. Barefoot Contessa pipes hers, and although very pretty, it’s a little bit fussy for me. They can be used countless ways and store nicely in an airtight container. I like mine covered with goodies like hot fudge, nuts and whip cream. My daughter loved hers with berries and whip cream, while my neighbor Melissa adored hers with caramel. We made a sundae bar with lots of wonderful things to choose from, and you can do the same to make them anyway you like!
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 250F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Because I wanted large, uniform meringues, I found it helpful to use a pencil to draw six 3-1/2 inch circles on each piece of parchment. I don’t think it’s at all necessary, as you can make them any size you like.
Using the whisk attachment with your electric mixer, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Then carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue.
Using a kitchen spoon, spoon meringue onto parchment paper. Bake for 1.5 hours, or until they are dry and crisp but not browned. (If you have time, Barefoot Contessa suggests turning off the oven to let the meringues sit for about 4 hours, or even overnight.)
What the heck am I going to do with these Meringues?
These are great for a dinner party. You can make them ahead of time and it takes only about one minute to make this awesome dessert.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Pre-scoop small scoops of ice cream and put in the freezer to harden. Cut off the top 1/3 of your meringue. Take a small spoon and make an indentation in the middle of the bottom part of the meringue. Then place a hardened ice cream scoop in the indentation, put the top back on, and drizzle with hot chocolate sauce, caramel, nuts, and whip cream, or whatever sweet treat you prefer on your profiterole.
If this is a little too labor intensive, a meringue is lovely with berries on top, served with raspberry syrup, or macerated fruit.