Preheat the oven to 275°F.
Place the egg whites into a scrupulously clean mixer bowl – any fat residue will mess with your glossy meringue dreams. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed until foamy, and the whisk leaves a slight trail behind it. With the machine running, add the sugar in a steady stream, then beat for another 5 minutes until the meringue is white and glossy. When you pull the whisk out of it, it should leave a distinct peak that keeps its shape.
Meanwhile, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Make teaspoon-sized dollops on the tray, leaving at least 5cm between neighbours. Use a slightly oiled tablespoon to flatten the dollops. Resist the urge to make giant or bulbous dollops, which will take forever to dry out in the oven.
Combine the salt and pepper in a small bowl, then sprinkle lightly over the meringues. You may not need all of it.
Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the tray and turn the oven down to 250°F. Bake for another 30 minutes. Remove one of the meringues, and cut it open – it should be dry inside, or very nearly. If the middle is still damp, continue to bake for another 15–20 minutes, then check with another meringue. At this point, you can remove the meringues from the oven, or you can simply turn the oven off and leave them in overnight.
Let the meringues cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. They will keep for up to two weeks.
Try with: Raspberry Fool, With Variations on a Pink Theme