Egg whites and sugar are the two ingredients needed to make three types of meringues. French Meringue, Italian Meringue, and Swiss Meringue are prepared using different techniques, two of which require heat, and each meringue used in a different way.
Tips for making the perfect meringue
NO TRACE OF FAT:
The smallest amount of fat will prevent the whites from whipping up,so make sure the eggs are cleanly separated,with no flecks of yolk in the whites.And of course the mixing bowl and the whisk must be completely clean and dry as well.
AT ROOM TEMPERATURE:
Egg whites whip up far more easily at room temperature rather being taking straight from the refrigerator, so remember to get them out at least 2 hours before making meringues.
WHICH SUGAR IS BEST?
The egg whites should be whisked with superfine sugar rather than confectioners sugar, as the latter contains starch,which will prevent the whites from whisking up properly. Sugars with larger crystals are not suitable, as they will not dissolve as well as super fine sugar when whisked with the egg whites.
WHY ADD VINEGAR OR CREAM OF TARTAR TO FRENCH MERINGUE?
Adding a few drops of white vinegar,lemon juice or a pinch of cream of tartar to the meringue mixture results in a smoother texture and stops the whipped whites becoming granular and loosing bulk. Adding one of these is strongly recommended if you are making a large quantity of mixture or a large meringue.
BAKE QUICKLY AFTER MIXTURE IS READY:
Meringue wait for no one, so shape and bake the mixture as soon as you have made it.
USE AND STORAGE(AFTER BAKING)
Type of Meringue
|French Meringue||Base for iced desserts,individual pastries and meringues,Petits fours||Several weeks in an airtight container,protected from moisture|
|Italian Meringue||Decoration layered desserts and small pastries,baked Alaska, Mouses||24 hour in the refrigerator,well covered in plastic wrap|
|Swiss Meringue||Individual pastries and decorations||
Several weeks, well covered in plastic wrap, in an airtight container and protected from moisture
Italian Meringue Recipe
- Superfine sugar 1/2 cup(3.5 oz/100 g)
- Water 2 tbsp(30 ml)
- Egg whites 3 tbsp(1.5 oz/40 g)
- For this method the meringue is cooked by incorporating cooked sugar followed by a few minutes in the oven to light brown it.
- The egg whites must be whisked until they are frothy so as to produce a smooth,glossy meringue.
- If the meringue is to be incorporated into a mousse, the required temperature depends on how fragile the mousse ingredients are. For chocolate mousse, it should be between 113 F and 122 F(45 C-50 C) and for the fruit mousse between 95 F and 100 F(35 C and 40 C)
- For creamy mixtures being lightened with meringue, incorporate the meringue at 75 F(25 C),particularly if the mixture contains butter, such as a praline buttercream.