Rainbow Christmas Tree Meringues
There is something magical about meringues which seem to fit perfectly with the magic of Christmas. I make tiny delicately flavoured and coloured meringues and tie them like little presents with bright coloured ribbon and hang them all over my tree. They can be eaten as little treats straight from the tree or as a fun pudding on Christmas day people can go and pick their own meringues off the tree and pile them into bowls with vanilla spiked cream or yoghurt and poached winter fruit, lighter and brighter than a Christmas pudding. Kids love to spoon the meringue mix onto trays and older ones can help with ribbon tying.
Makes about 50 small meringues
4 large eggs whites
200g golden caster sugar
Plus the for each flavours:
Lemon meringues very finely grated zest 1 lemon
Optional: a few drops of natural yellow food colouring
Orange meringues very finely grated zest 1 orange
Optional: a few drops of natural orange food colouring
Pistachio meringues 2 tbsp finely chopped shelled pistachios
Optional: a few drops of natural green food colouring
Raspberry meringues 2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberries, pounded to dust using a pestle and mortar
Optional: a few drops of natural pink food colouring
Heat oven to 150C and line 2 large baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
Crack your egg whites into large mixing bowl or stand up mixer, making sure it’s grease-free before you start.
Whisk the eggs with an electric hand whisk or in your mixer on a medium speed, until they reach soft peaks. Next add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, until you have a thick and glossy meringue, then turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for a further 2 minutes or until all the grains have dissolved, you can test this by pinching a little of the mixture between you fingers.
Divide the mixture into 4 clean bowls and add one of the flavours to each, as well as a tiny drop of natural food colouring if you like, then fold the flavouring through the mixture. Use a tablespoon to spoon the meringue into little piles, do this until you have used up all 4 mixtures, make sure to leave a little space in between for them to spread.
Bake for 1 hr until solid to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. Tie each of the meringues with a coloured ribbon and hang from the tree, these will keep for 2-3 weeks.
Image: Emma Lee