Eggs for dessert!
Spring is the season for eggs, and meringues are eggs for dessert. Try to use the freshest eggs possible - which means getting them from your farmer's market, if not from your own chickens or your neighbor's chickens.
How to make meringues:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Separate five eggs, putting the whites in a medium-size mixing bowl (preferably not a plastic one), and doing something else with the yolks. Lemon curd is a popular choice, or hollandaise sauce. Mix one cup of sugar and 1/8 cup of water and microwave for one or two minutes, until the sugar melts and forms a sugar syrup. Begin beating the egg whites with an electric mixer, and slowly and gradually pour in the sugar syrup as you beat the eggs. (or, if you want it to be easier, just dump a cup of sugar straight into the egg whites, but it won't be as smooth). Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks, and then use a big spoon to ladle out about half a cup of the egg whites at a time on to a baking sheet. Leave at least an inch between the blobs. Bake about 15 minutes, or until the meringues are browned on top. Use a metal spatula to remove the meringues.
Serve immediately, hot from the oven, with raspberry sauce.
What if I want hard, crunchy meringues?
Preheat the oven only to 300 F. Mix the same as before, but when you put the meringues in, reduce the heat to 250 F and bake the meringues for about 2-3 hours or until they are completely dried out and crisp. If you have a convection oven, use the convection feature to move the air around the meringues. Then turn the oven off, but leave the meringues in the oven to cool until the oven is completely cool.
Will these meringues keep?
The soft meringues will be all soggy and stale even after a couple of hours. You have to eat them fresh. If you want to keep them a couple of days, make the hard crispy kind of meringues.