When Meg River's young children called for a sweet treat she was reluctant to give them commercial bakes made with artificial flavours, preservatives and colours. So she started to bake her own wholesome cakes, traybakes and cookies using good-quality ingredients. Word spread about just how good these treats were and her friends started to place orders. When she got her first order for a cake to ship to Africa she decided to turn her hobby into a mail-order business and Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery was born.
Try this recipe for gorgeous Meg Rivers meringues
Crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle, meringues are so versatile. Their sweet simplicity of flavour combines particularly well with fresh fruit. Make them into nests and top with whipped cream and berries for a delicious dessert, or sandwich shells together for a tasty teatime treat.
3 egg whites
1⁄2 teaspoon white vinegar
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
180g/1 cup caster/
600 ml/21⁄2 cups whipping cream
30 g/3 tablespoons caster/superfine sugar
fresh fruit of choice
2 baking sheets lined with non-stick baking parchment
Makes about 20
Preheat oven to 110˚C (225˚F) Gas 1⁄4.
Put the egg whites, vinegar and vanilla into a large, clean, grease-free bowl and whisk on high speed with an electric hand whisk until it has doubled in volume and stiff peaks are formed. Add about a third of the sugar and beat on high speed for 5 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved. Repeat this process, adding the sugar a third at a time and beating for 5 minutes between each addition. The mixture should become stiff.
Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets to form mounds of the desired size. Make a dip in each one with the spoon to form a nest shape. Bake the meringues in the preheated oven for about 60–80 minutes or until they sound crispy and hollow when tapped underneath. Turn off the oven and leave them to cool in the oven with the door ajar for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To serve, whip the cream and sugar with an electric hand whisk until soft peaks are formed. Serve the meringue nests topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit of your choice.
The meringues will keep for 14 days in an airtight container, or can be frozen for up to 2 months.
This recipe is from Meg Rivers Home Baking by Julian Day, photography by Steve Painter, published by Ryland Peters & Small £16.99 or $24.99 in the USA
Meg Rivers Home Baking by Julian Day, photography by Steve Painter, published by Ryland Peters & Small £16.99 or $24.99 in the USA