I recently got a book by Shauna Sever called Pure Vanilla. I already own her book 'Marshmallow Madness' so I was definitely intrigued by this one as I think a delicate vanilla flavour is very under-rated and under-used when it comes to baking! This recipe is actually from BBC Good Food, but with a touch of vanilla inspired by my new book. I'd never made meringues before but don't be put off - they really aren't as difficult as people make them out to be. I'll be making these meringues for Mother's Day I think!
Adapted from BBC Good Food (June 2003)
Makes 18 meringues
Cooking time: 90 mins

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
100g granulated sugar
65g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Caviar of 1/2 a vanilla bean (scrape the pods out of the bean)

1. Preheat the oven to 100 C and line two baking trays with non stick paper. Sift the granulated and icing sugar together in a bowl.

2. Pour the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt into a large glass bowl (or anything other than plastic) and beat with an electric whisker on medium until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the whisks are lifted out.

3. Turn the speed up on the mixer and start to add the granulated and icing sugar mixture, a spoonful at a time. Keep beating for a few seconds in between each spoonful. Adding the sugar slowly prevents your meringues weeping later on. Your mixture should start looking thick and glossy at this point.

4. Add the vanilla extract and caviar, increase the mixer speed to high and beat for a final minute. It should look smooth and billowy, like a snow drift.

5. Scoop heaped dessert spoonfuls of the mixture, using another spoon to ease them onto the baking trays. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until they sound crisp when you tap the underside and have a slight caramel colour to them. Leave to cool, then keep in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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