Swiss-Meringue Hydrangea Blossoms
Cut out 100 two-inch squares from waxed or parchment paper; set aside.Advertisement
Put egg whites and sugar in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until mixture has cooled and formed stiff, glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
Fit a pastry bag with a coupler and one of the petal tips; immediately fill with meringue. Pipe a dot of meringue onto the head of a flower nail, and press a square of parchment onto meringue. With the large open end of the tip touching the paper and the entire tip perpendicular to the head of the nail, pipe a petal: Gently move tip away from center, angling tip and bringing it back to center. Pipe three more petals, overlapping slightly, to complete the flower. (Once you have perfected the technique, you can pipe two to four blossoms on each square.)
Carefully transfer blossoms on squares to a baking sheet to dry, 3 to 24 hours, depending on humidity. If humidity is high, arrange blossoms in a single layer on baking sheets and bake in an oven set at the lowest temperature until dry; let cool on sheets. Transfer to airtight containers and store at room temperature up to 1 week.
You will need three batches to make enough flowers to cover a cake. Prepare and pipe only one batch at a time, because meringue that sits for too long before piping wonâ€™t hold its shape very well. Pipe flowers of varying sizes using Ateco petal tips #102, #103, and #104. To make brown-sugar meringue for tiers and flower centers, reduce granulated sugar to 1/4 cup; add 1 cup packed light-brown sugar.