I love, love, love meringues. They’re probably my favorite of all french cuisine. I love them poached, I love them baked, I love them as the base for a macaron or a great chocolate cake. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a form of meringue that I don’t love. I like to play around with different flavors depending on the season and these are an amazing way to get you in the mood for spring! Whipped egg whites and sugar infused with vanilla bean and the bright flavor from the zest of citrus, these desserts are not only sensible they are melt-in-your-mouth good! The way they’re colored and then piped also give them a fancy look, and they package up really nicely which makes this a great gift if you’re invited somewhere. After separating the eggs, use the leftover egg yolks to make crème brûlée!
Preheat oven to 200º. Combine 3 room temperature egg whites with 3/4c granulated sugar in a heatproof bowl. Add in the seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture warms, about 3 minutes. Transfer to mixing bowl and add a large pinch of salt and cream of tartar. Beat with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Beat in 1 tsp of orange or lemon zest (depending on what flavor you prefer). Make sure you grate the zest super fine so it won’t block your piping tip later on.
Paint vertical stripes on the inside of a piping bag with either orange or yellow gel food coloring and fit with a 2C Wilton Tip. Transfer the meringue mixture into the piping bag and squeeze a little out to get the “stripes” going. Pipe meringues onto Silpat Lined Baking Sheets. Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside, about one hour and 15 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack. Makes about 60 meringues.