I wanted to create something really cute and precious for Easter. I was thinking of something whimsical in pastel colours, something sweet, but not a cupcake. I’m not sure why, but that’s where my mind was taking me. I had seen these Martha Stewart Meringue nests, which were cute; but then Sweetapolita upped the ante by colouring her nests blue. I wanted to make my nests pink at first, but realized that I didn’t have any red food colouring left – so blue it was. I kept them simple by adding a couple of chocolate eggs in beautiful pastel colours. This way they make an instant Easter treat and are easy to hand over as a gift as well.
While meringue is not hard to make, it does take time. So make sure you’ve got a couple of hours at home. Once you have the nests, your options are limitless. Fill them with candy like I did above, add some butter-cream like Rosie did, add fruit like Martha did, fill them with melted chocolate or make some lemon curd with the left-over egg yolks. I made this lemon curd and filled a couple of nests. It makes for a nice flavour combination, but they do get messy with all that sticky sweetness.You can also store your meringue nests in an air tight container for a couple of days, just make sure you don’t crush them as they are quite fragile. The perfect bit of pastel whimsy just in time for Easter. And yes, we did give most of them as gifts, because there’s only so much sweetness I want to keep in our house.
- 5 egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 cup superfine (caster) sugar or regular sugar
- Drop of food colour or food gel colour of choice
- Line two baking sheets or one large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to lowest temperature (for my oven this is 175°F).
- Separate your eggs (best done when cold) and add the 5 egg whites into a clean metal mixing bowl. If you get any yolk into the mixing bowl, remove all contents and begin again. Leave bowl on counter until they come to room temperature.
- Once egg whites are room temperature (warm is best), place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until egg whites become frothy, about 2 minutes, and add cream of tartar.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add all of the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head with no meringue falling out. Add food colour and beat until combined.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a large tip and pipe approximately 3-inch circles, working from the middle outwards, followed by two full rings atop one another around the perimeter of the nest. Pipe 14 nests placing a few inches apart.
- Bake in oven until completely dry and crisp, but not browned, about 90 minutes (this can take much longer, depending on your environment). Nests should lift from parchment with ease. Turn off oven and leave nests inside until oven has cooled, then remove nests from oven.
If you don't want to pipe your nests, you can spoon the meringue on to the parchment and use a spoon to create a small indentation. This will create more organic looking nests.