Having tried quite a few French meringues, I can say I prefer Roland Mesnier’s version hands down. Not only is it good and sturdy, it actually has flavor beyond mere sugary sweetness. When I made meringue mushrooms out of it, the missus wouldn’t believe that I hadn’t added any additional flavorings. It’s that complex and caramel-y. This amount is enough for four 10-inch round cake layers, so if you need less, you can scale it down by as much as 75% and it will still work in a stand mixer. The formula is:
14 ounces (2 cups) granulated sugar
8 ounces (2 cups) powdered sugar
1 ounce (3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
8 egg whites
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Whisk the powdered sugar and flour together in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with a whip, whip the egg whites on high to the soft peak stage. With the machine running, add the granulated sugar in a steady stream (plus any extract or color you care to add) and whip to stiff peaks. Fold in the powdered sugar/flour mixture by hand.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag and pipe with a large, plain tip into whatever shape you wish. Bake both small and large shapes for 20-30 minutes with the oven door propped open with the handle of a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape. Check at the 20 minute mark to see if there’s any browning. If so (and you don’t want it) turn the oven down to 200 (for extra caramelization, turn the oven up to 300).
Bake until your meringues are completely dry, another half an hour for very small shapes, about one and a half hours for large cake layers. Cool them completely on the baking sheets and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.