Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Sugar: use raw golden cane sugar in place of white sugar if you like. This adds a nice very slight caramel flavour but will make slightly darker meringues.
- Egg whites: for the best results, use eggs that are at room temperature.
Step 1: add the egg whites and vanilla to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: whisk to combine.
Step 3: beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
Step 4: add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuously beating, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
Step 5: divide the meringue into 3 to 4-inch (7 to 10-cm) round mounds on the parchment-lined sheet.
Step 6: gently flatten and shape the centre of each meringue with the back of the spoon to form small bowl-like indents. Bake for about one hour and fifteen minutes. Turn off the oven and let them cool inside for a couple of hours with the door propped slightly open. Remove the meringues to a cooling rack and let them sit for one hour so the interiors can cool completely.
- Pipe instead: if you prefer a more uniform look to your meringues, use a piping bag to pipe the nests into neat and tidy shapes.
- Change the size: this recipe makes ten smaller meringue nests, but you can change the size if you want. Five slightly larger nests, or one big meringue shell are good options. Note you will have to keep your eye on the oven as the baking time will change.
- Make soft meringues: for softer, slightly chewier meringues, reduce the baking time by 15 minutes.
Leaving the oven door cracked open slightly as the meringues cool is said to prevent cracking. We wedge the oven door open with a wooden spoon. If your meringues crack don't fret! They'll be covered with fruit, whipped cream, or whichever toppings you choose and will still be delicious.
Humidity plays a huge role in the texture of meringue. Because of this, they generally lose their crispness after a couple of days. Though best eaten the day of they can be stored in a dry, airtight container with a lid for up to three days.
Make sure not a single drop of egg yolk has made its way into the mixture, and clean the mixing bowl well before starting to mix. The slightest bit of fat will prevent the meringue from whipping up properly.
How to Store
Keep your fully cooled meringue nests in an airtight container at room temperature for at least two weeks. They can last longer, but will start to soften slightly over time.
What are meringue nests?
Consider them to be mini versions of a larger pavlova. They're simply small meringues, shaped so that there's an indent in the middle that can be filled after baking.
Is a meringue nest the same as Pavlova?
They're essentially the same, but on a smaller scale. A pavlova also tends to be a bit softer and more marshmallow-y (mostly due to the size) but nests can be baked for a little less time to get that same texture.
Do meringue nests go off?
They don't really spoil, exactly, but over time any humidity will cause the sugar to melt and will make the meringues soft and sometimes a little wet.
If you make this Meringue Nest recipe or any other baking basic recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Wire rack
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 285ºF (140ºC).
- Beat the egg whites and vanilla in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
- Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuously beating, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
- Divide the meringue into 8 mounds on the parchment-lined sheet. Gently flatten the centre of each meringue with the back of the spoon to form small nests.
- Bake the meringues for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (for softer meringues, reduce the bake time by 15 minutes).
- Let the meringues cool in the oven with the door propped slightly open for a couple of hours before removing to a cooling tray.
- Fill the cooled nests with lemon curd, fresh berries, whipped cream, or anything else you like.