Meringue is a great complement to many desserts; because of its beauty it stands out on any sweets table. It is also 100% fat free and protein rich. However it contains high levels of sugar which is essential to give the meringue stability. This means that it is hard to replace sugar with other sweeteners.
Meringues are made of only two ingredients, but the chemistry involved in the preparation process makes it a challenging one.
How to make a bullet proof meringue? Well, below you will find a few tips so that you will never again lose a single egg white!
- The bowl, mixer and anything that touches the egg whites must be 100% free of fat. (Avoid plastic bowls because their porous material may contain traces of fat)
- Egg whites must be 100% free of yolk
- Egg whites must be at room temperature
- Try to avoid humid or rainy days when preparing meringue
- To bake meringue, the oven must be preheated at a low temperature (100 celsius or less)
- Avoid a cold kitchen (a warm kitchen helps to achieve the ‘soft/stiff peaks’)
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites before beating them (there is also a white dust called Creme Of Tartar which is an excellent stabiliser for meringues)
- Do not over beat
There are three classic meringue preparations:
French Meringue: It is the most basic meringue. Sugar is gradually added to the egg whites until completely dissolved into a glossy meringue. It is the most unstable meringue of the three but it is ideal for baked meringue.
Italian Meringue: It is made with sugar at ‘soft ball’ point. The warmed up sugar is slowly poured into the foamy egg whites until achieving a white and glossy meringue. Italian meringue is very stable and is used to make desserts and a topping for tarts and cakes.
Swiss Meringue: It is made by adding the sugar straight into the egg whites and heating the mixture over a double boiler (bain-marie) until the sugar has completely dissolved. Then the mixture is beaten together until forming a voluminous, shiny meringue. Swiss meringue is very stable and can be used to make desserts, tarts, etc.
In upcoming posts, I will explain how to prepare each one of these classic meringues step by step! Keep visiting www.thegingerspoon.com