If you ask my best friend from school what she remembers the most from my grandma’s house, she will say for sure: Los suspiros de Tata! We went to my grandma’s house during a weekday and when we arrived, she was sitting on the kitchen table baking suspiros. While I’m writing this post, I feel I’m at that moment with her, whipping the eggs while my friend and I ate all the sugar jejeje.
This recipe is easy but tricky, so let me give you some tips before we start baking.
The most important ingredient is the egg, so here are a couple of tips Tata always told me:
- Meringue recipes work better with eggs that are at least 3 or 4 days old. According to Google, thin, older egg whites whip more easily to a higher volume than thick, fresh egg whites.
- Don’t make egg white meringue on a rainy or really humid day (good luck in Florida with humidity!)
- Cold eggs separate better than those at room temperature because the white holds together better
- Avoid touching the areas that will come in contact with the egg whites, that way you’ll avoid leaving oils from your hands on the utensils you just washed.
- Use copper, stainless steel, or glass bowls. Avoid using plastic bowls for whipping egg whites as they can often harbor traces of grease, which often prevents the whites from getting stiff.
Ok, now that you know everything about meringue, let’s start baking!
First thing you have to do is separate the egg withes and the yolks. If we make a tiny mistake separating the yolks, then we won’t get the meringue we are expecting. You can either buy a yolk separator and minimize risk or you can try doing it this way: Crack the egg and hold the shell halves over a bowl. Transfer yolk back and forth between halves, letting the white drop into a bowl. DO NOT cut the yolk (whites containing any yolk will not beat properly!!! This is mainly because fat interferes with the formation of good foam). If it does break, do not try to go-fish it. Grab a new bowl and new eggs and start the process over again. If you made it successfully through the separation, transfer the yolks to another bowl.
Now start beating the egg whites with an electric mixer, when the whites have formed soft peaks add sugar gradually, then the vanilla and the lime zest. Continue beating egg whites on high speed until they form peaks with tips that stand straight when the beaters are lifted. Once you start a making whipped egg whites, continue it straight through and finish it off. Do not stop until the meringue is done. How do you know if it’s done? When it is not runny and when you can hold a spoonful of it upside down and none of it drops off. Also when you swirl a spoon through it and the swirls hold their shape indefinitely.
Once the meringue is ready, pour it into a pastry bag and squeeze it out over parchment paper to make lot’s of suspiros. Place them on a tray and take it to the oven. Bake them at a lower temperature for a longer time. I usually bake them at 150F for an hour. Remember every oven is different so keep an eye on your meringues to make sure they don’t overcook.
Once you get to be a suspiro master, you can start playing around by adding colors to the mix and changing the forms.
I hope you like them as much as I do.