Meringue is simply egg whites whipped with sugar creating a glossy, fluffy mixture that is extremely versatile. The ingredients may be simplistic, but creating a successful meringue can be complex.
Tips for a Successful Meringue
- Be sure all equipment is free of grease and completely dry
- When separating eggs make sure no traces of yolk get into the eggs that are being used for making meringue
- Acid can help stablize the meringue (lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar)
- Bring egg whites to room temperature both whipping to create a meringue with better volume
- If using a copper bowl to whip eggs do not use cream of tartar. The mixture of cream of tartar with copper will cause a toxic reaction and the eggs will turn slightly green in color
Styles of Meringue
- also known as Common Meringue
This meringue is the easiest type of meringue to make, unfortunately it is also the least stable meringue. The french style of meringue is most often used to help leaven cakes and souffles.
This meringue is more stable then french meringue. To make swiss meringue, heat the egg whites and sugar over a hot water bath until the mixture reaches 120 F/50 C then whip in a mixer until the desired peak is reached. This style meringue works well for baked desserts.
- also known as Boiled Icing
This meringue is the most stable because the sugar is cooked before mixing. The make this meringue a sugar syrup is cooked to a soft ball stage, which is 244 F/ 118 C then the hot sugar is poured in a slow steady stream into the whipping egg whites. This style of meringue is great for making buttercream and mousses.