Sospiros: Portuguese Meringue

From “The Food of Portugal”.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Equipment

  • Two baking sheets
  • Parchment paper (NOT wax paper)
  • Electric mixer with a whisk (preferably a standing one because you will be carefully pouring while whisking)

Method

  1. Combine sugar and water in a medium size, heavy saucepan and set over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved (yes, it will dissolve!)
  2. Insert a candy thermometer then cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage: 236 F
  3. This will take some time so don’t go on to the next step yet.
  4. When the temperature is about 230F, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice and salt until silvery.
  5. When it’s about 235F, set oven to 300 F
  6. As soon as the sugar reaches 236F, drizzle it slowly into the egg whites, beating all the while at highest mixer speed.
  7. Continue beating for 2 to 3 min after all the syrup has been incorporated. The mixture should be very stiff and stand up in peaks.
  8. Prepare the baking sheets by first putting a few drops at the corners of each sheet and put the parchment paper on it so that it sticks to the cookie sheet.
  9. Drop meringue by the rounded tablespoonful onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheets. You can also use a pastry bag.
  10. Bake for 20 min
  11. Turn the oven down to 200 F and bake for 2 hours
  12. Turn off the oven and let the meringues dry out in the oven for 1 hour
  13. Peel the meringues off and store in airtight bags.

Notes

  • Do not do this on a humid or rainy day!
  • If you only have one cookie sheet and you don’t want to halve the ingredients, keep in mind that your second batch will need to wait for at least 1.5 hours.
  • You can make a nice variation by sandwiching two meringues around an “Ovos Moles“, which conveniently uses only egg yolks
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