Today I'll share with you how I made the meringue "tree" for my Hansel and Gretel Christmas table.
First up: make the meringues.
140gr egg whites (you'll need about 4 medium eggs)
120gr caster sugar
120g icing sugar
Flavouring: a few drops of vanilla or almond extract
Beat the egg white at medium speed (Kitchen Aid speed 4) for 3 minutes
Add half of the sugars and any flavouring and beat for a couple of minutes at a slightly higher speed (Kitchen Aid speed 6).
Add the rest of the sugars and keep beating for a further 5 minutes.
Finish by beating for 3 minutes at full speed (Kitchen Aid speed 10).
Pipe the desired shapes on a baking tray. I used a big star tip.
The colour effect is achieved by painting stripes of gel food colouring inside the piping bag before filling it with the meringue. More info and pictures here.
Dry/cook small meringues for 1 hour 15 minutes at 110° C (fan oven) followed by 1 hour 30 minutes at 100° C.
Preparing the tower
You will need a polystyrene cone, some foil paper and royal icing.
In order to make the cone food safe, you will need to completely cover it with foil. Wrap and secure with a little bit of icing. This also keeps the cone clean so you can use it again.
Spread royal icing and completely cover the cone so that no foil will show in between the meringues. Leave to dry overnight.
The following day, use a little bit of royal icing on the back of each meringue to "glue" on the cone, starting at the bottom.
Tip: Choose which side is going to be the front and make a little mark to identify it. Keep all the best looking meringues of a similar size for the front and use the slightly misshaped ones for the back. Also you might need to use some smaller ones (or cut some big ones in half) to fill the gaps, this should be "hidden" at the back.
That's it, the tower is done. You can use this technique for any shape, you could easily do a topiary.
Linking to Sunday Scoop link party @ I heart Naptime