Foolproof Swiss Meringue

This meringue recipe is the only one I'll ever use. There's no need for 10 ingredients (put down the cream of tartar!). It can be baked or served as is, unlike it's French cousin. It's sturdy without the risk of scrambled egg whites or painful hot sugar burns on your hands, like with Italian Meringue. My friends, the Swiss have figured it out: 2 ingredients, 2 steps, and it always turns out shiny and creamy. (Gross, lumpy meringue that has separated is wildly unappetizing, and you deserve better.) 

Be as creative as you want with this. It's so simple that it begs to be riffed on. Use it to ice a cake or top a pie, and torch it. Pipe it into neat little domes, and bake into the cutest cookies ever. Dollop it on baking sheet and bake into amazing giant blobs of sugar. Need an impressive party dessert? Dump all of it out on that baking sheet and make a massive, craggy pavlova. For flavors, scrape in a vanilla pod, toss in ground cardamom, or fold in pistachios. Get crazy and swirl in some melted chocolate and candied orange peels. Bake it into little nests and fill them with damn near anything. Lemon curd, jam, whipped cream, poached fruit... Whatever you want! It's a blank canvas that will never fail you. 

Instead of a regular recipe, I'm going to give you the ratio my grandmother has always used. For roughly half to 3/4 a stand-mixer bowl of meringue, I use 5 egg whites. 

Ratio: 3 heaping soup spoonfuls white granulated sugar per egg white.

Combine the egg whites and sugar into a pot. Over very low heat, vigorously whisk the whites and sugar until the mixture is thin and slightly foamy. I use a hand mixer here. Alternatively, place the whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk. 

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for several minutes, until you've reached stiff peaks. Not sure how to tell? Turn the whisk upside down; the meringue should stand up firmly, and the top should curl over slightly, like in the photo. 

To bake: heat the oven to 225 F, pipe or spoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once the meringues are firm but not browned, turn off the oven and let them cool completely. 

A few tips to follow for perfect meringue, every time:

-Make sure your bowl is very clean, and dry. Fat or moisture are not your friends here. 

-Don't let any yolks in there! Not even a little bit!

-Room temperature eggs will whip up faster and with more volume than cold eggs. To speed up this process, let the eggs sit in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. 

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