Baking, to me, is the perfect conveyor of love and these love heart meringues are the perfect example of just that. Baking requires thought, and planning. Knowing what someone enjoys most and then taking the time and effort to create it from raw materials illustrates commitment, dedication; a longing to instill happiness in its recipient.
Inexperienced bakers are often scared to try their hand at meringues for fear they will not turn out well; that they will be chewy rather than crisp. Take a quick look at any classic recipe and it becomes apparent why the thought of making meringues invokes fear in those who have never attempted them. The first meringue recipe I found comes from my copy of the Larousse Gastronomique (which, if you do not own a copy of, you should order right away… Fascinating stuff!) Bake for 12 hours at a temperature of 100°C or below, it says! 12 hours!? Sorry, just no!
My recipe for love heart meringues is super-simple, easy to follow, and requires minimal effort. And, above all, it is sure to impress the one you love. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or just as a reminder of your love.
For an extra little twist, I like to add half a teaspoon of salted caramel flavouring to these meringues. The result is that the meringues do lose some of their brilliant whiteness, but what they gain is an unmistakeable depth of flavour that I have always found to be very mourish. If you are unsure where to get salted caramel flavouring, I have found Tesco to be a reliable source (and really cheap!)
In this recipe, I use a piping bag fitted with a 10mm round tip. If you do not have a piping bag and nozzle, do not worry. You can make these love heart meringues just as easily using things you will definitely have in your kitchen cupboard or drawer. Give them a try! I promise it won’t take 12 hours!
Love Heart Meringues
- 3 egg whites
- 225 g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salted caramel flavouring optional
- 4-5 drops pink food colouring
- Preheat the oven to 135°C and line two or three baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Clean your mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly (I like to use half a lemon) to remove any grease that may have been left over from a previous bake. You need to ensure there is no grease as this can affect the egg white’s ability to expand like a cloud.
- Add the egg whites to your cleaned bowl, and beat until peaks start to form.
- Next, whilst still beating, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and beat between each spoonful of sugar. This will ensure the sugar fully dissolves into the egg white.
- Once all of the sugar is incorporated, add the salted caramel flavour (if using) and continue to beat the meringue mixture until it forms stiff peaks. The way to check is to pull the whisk from the mixture. If the peak that forms in the bowl stands to attention, the meringue mix is ready. (You can also try the old ‘bowl above your head’ method if you really want to…)
Time to pipe
- Piping love heart meringues
- If you’re going to be using a piping bag, now is the time to fit your nozzle and then, before spooking in the meringue mixture, drop a couple of drops of food colouring around the empty piping bag. This will create the streaks in your finished meringues.
- If you won’t be using a piping bag, take a spoonful of meringue and place it into another bowl. Add the food colouring to the smaller bowl of meringue and mix it well. Fold this coloured meringue into the larger bowl, being sure not to over-mix it.
- To create heart shapes, pipe a ball and, as you release the pressure from the bag to stop the mixture coming out, pull the nozzle towards you (creating a teardrop). Pipe a second ball in the same way, pulling towards you, so that the end of the teardrops meet. Et voila! A love heart meringue!
- If you aren’t using a piping bag, simply spoon a round dollop of meringue (about the size of a cherry tomato) onto the prepared baking sheet with a teaspoon; then, drag the handle of another teaspoon through the centre of the meringue (towards you) to create the love heart shape.
- Bake the meringues for 55 minutes.
- Once baked, you can either remove them from the oven (to create a chewy meringue) or you can leave them in the oven to dry out fully. If you decide to leave them in the oven, you will need to prop the oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. This will allow the oven to cool at a steady rate, drying out the meringues to create that quintessential crisp texture.
- If you want to take them one step further, you could spoon a little whipped cream and jam onto the back of a meringue and sandwich with another. Either way, these love heart meringues are sure to be appreciated by those you love.