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How do you make meringues?

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How do you make meringues?
How do you make meringues?

How do you make meringues?

 

Despite the simplicity of this dessert, the question in the title has become a ritual in my pastry courses:

“….how do you make meringues?”

Let’s start at the beginning with a good definition of what is meant by meringue.

Meringue is a pastry base usually made of one part egg white and two parts  sugar.

There are several ways to prepare meringue, but let’s look at the most important ones.

Classic meringue:

100 g egg white

200 g granulated sugar

Method:

Put the egg whites in a stand mixer and add the sugar a little at a time, whisking at medium speed.

The mixture is ready when it makes a nice stiff peak on the whisk.

Fill a pastry bag with a nozzle you like (plain, fluted, etc.), pipe the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 3 hours at 100°C  (in a static oven leave them overnight in the turned-off oven: this option

is only for professional ovens that stay warm all night).

Important notice: there must be no steam inside the oven otherwise the meringues will not dry out.

 

Swiss meringue:

100 g egg white

100 g icing sugar

100 g granulated sugar

Method:

Whisk the egg whites and granulated sugar in a copper pan; once it reaches 60°C transfer the mixture in a stand mixer bowl and whisk until soft stiff. Remove from the stand mixer and fold in the icing sugar with the help of a

rubber spatula, mixing from the top to the bottom. Bake for approx. 3 hours at 100°C or 5 minutes at 180°C and 2 hours at 100°C.

Italian meringue:

100 g egg white

200 g sugar

60 g water

Classic method:

Prepare the egg whites in a stand mixer bowl and begin to whip the egg whites at low speed. In the meantime boil the sugar and water until they reach 118-121°C. Increase the mixing speed and carefully pour in the syrup.

Continue to beat until the meringue has cooled.

Uses:

  • Base for semifreddo desserts
  • Mousse
  • Decorations
  • Creams (chiboust and the like)

Microwave oven method

Common problems that may occur when beating the eggs or baking meringues:
  • Egg whites must be divided very well from yolks; be careful not to drop any yolk into your whites because beating volume is difficult if there is yolk in the batter

 

  • the bowl where you whisk the meringue must be clean of fat or grease. Fat (even a small amount) will prevent egg whites from beating up properly

 

  • beware of recipes that tell you to “whisk for x amount of time”: there is no mathematical certainty for these operations; it’s not spaghetti cooking time

 

  • a pinch of salt will not make egg whites foam better

 

  • the beaten mixture must be fluffy and stiff and reach peak stage (i.e. the egg whites stand in a rigid point that do not curl at the tips when the beaters are lifted)

 

  • baking at a maximum of 100°C (90°C in fan-assisted ovens) if you want a white meringue (this system is something between baking and drying). If baked at higher temperatures meringues become light brown due to sugar caramelization.

 

  • avoid the formation of steam in the oven: if you use a home oven wedge the oven door open 1 mm (put something to hold it open), at least during the first hour of baking. If you use a professional static oven bake with open

 

  • meringues are perfectly cooked when they’re dry in the centre.

 

Cooking meringue in a dryer

How to make meringue in 40 seconds in a microwave oven (go to article)

Have a good meringue and a nice dessert!!!

 

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