Once the syrup has reached 225ºF, beat 2 large egg whites with a pinch of salt and 1/2teaspoon ice cold water to soft peaks in a large bowl, preferably stainless steel.
The water is not completely necessary to making meringue, however adding a small amount causes an increase in volume as the hydrophillic (water-loving) amino acidsbecome attracted to the extra water as the egg whites’ protein structure is stretched.(Eggs are made of eighty to ninety per cent water, give or take as percentage variesamong sources, and complex proteins and ten per cent fat.)
This is possible because of an egg’s cell structure of long chains of amino acids that are hydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophillic (water-loving),respectively. When the egg whites are beaten, as they start to foam the proteinstructure of the whites start to uncurl and stretch, revealing these amino acids and a furious battle occurs in which the hydrophilic amino acids are attracted to the proteinand as these molecules get closer to each other, the water molecules shove out thehydrophobic amino acids.
Also by adding a small amount of water, the egg whites transform into a frothy foammore quickly than those without added water.
When the syrup is done, remove from heat and immediately pour into the soft peak egg whites in a slow, steady stream while continuing to whip the egg whites at the sametime. If you’re doing this by hand, at this stage it would be helpful to have someonepour the syrup in while you whip it in the egg whites.
Once all the syrup has been poured in, continue whipping the egg whites until sti
andglossy and has cooled to room temperature. It should have a marshmallow-y thickness.Sti
peak egg whites should hold and retain their shape. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanillaextract and rapidly beat for about 2 more minutes. If done properly, this meringue isslow to start weeping. (If it starts weeping, should it arrive at that point, just use thesame whisk to beat back into shape.)
Spoon or pipe the meringue on to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 75 minutes oruntil light to deep golden brown and dry to the touch. Remove meringues from oven