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.
100 g egg white
200 g granulated sugar
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.
100 g egg white
100 g icing sugar
100 g granulated sugar
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.
100 g egg white
200 g sugar
60 g water
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.
- Base for semifreddo desserts
- Creams (chiboust and the like)
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.
Have a good meringue and a nice dessert!!!