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Hard Meringues


(Makes 1 (9-inch) shell or 8 (3-inch) shells)
For best results, make meringues on a bright, dry day.


Ingredients



  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Filling or fresh fruit


Method


In small mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks. (Rub just a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger to feel if sugar has dissolved.) Beat in vanilla.


With spoon or pastry bag, spread mixture over bottom and up sides of greased 9-inch pie plate OR on greased or lined (foil or waxed, brown or parchment paper) baking sheet, shape into 1 (9-inch) "nest" or, using about 1/3 cup of the meringue for each, shape into 8 (3-inch) "nests". Build up edges to form rims.


Bake in preheated 225 & 176;F oven until firm and cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven. Let stand in oven with door closed until cool, dry and crisp, at least 1 additional hour. (Do not remove shell from pie plate.) Store in tightly sealed container. Fill as desired just before serving.


NOTE: This oven temperature and time will produce crisp white meringues. For a Pavlova with a more chewy inside texture, reduce baking time. After baking about 40 minutes, judge texture by testing occasionally with cake tester or wooden pick inserted into side of meringue. Dry as above.

For a lightly browned meringue, raise temperature to 250& 176;F. Bake until delicately browned and cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Dry as above.


Hard meringues may be stored for several months in tightly covered containers with waxed paper between layers. To recrisp, bake in preheated 250F oven about 15 to 20 minutes



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