Types of meringue
Types of meringue and their uses can often be confusing:
Everyone knows that meringue is a preparation made of egg white and sugar that are whisked together (classic method, French method, etc.) and once baked you can make pastries of every size and shape, usually stuffed with cream, chantilly cream or other creams and semifreddo desserts.
No doubts so far… but when meringue is used as a semifreddo base, a cream base or simply as a soft decorative element without baking in the oven everything gets complicated.
We are all aware that raw eggs are dangerous in cooking and pastry preparations!
Italian (or pasteurized) meringue was invented just to avoid risks and dangers at hygienic level.
- 100 g egg white
- 200 g sugar
- 60 g water
Heat the sugar with the water until it reaches a temperature of 121°C (you can control this parameter with a digital thermometer or with a sugar thermometer) then slowly pour into the egg whites whilst still whisking. Continue whisking until cooled.
- 100 g egg white
- 160 g sugar
- 50 g water
- 40 g sugar
Heat the sugar with the water until it reaches (160 g) a temperature of 121°C (you can control this parameter with a digital thermometer or with a sugar thermometer) then slowly pour into the previously semi-whipped with 40 g of sugar. Continue whisking until cooled.
(As you can see, the sugar and egg white ratio is almost unchanged compared to a classic meringue; the substantial difference is in the method.)
Temperature is not accidental:
121°C C is the last degree at which water evaporates; beyond that syrup can only cook and then reach caramelization.
What happens with this method compared to the traditional one?
Egg whites undergo pasteurization and their bacterial load is considerably reduced with the added benefit that we can use it a wide variety of preparations that don’t need to be baked in the oven.
We all know marshmallows:
they are nothing but soft “sponges” made up of Italian meringue and food gelatine!
So…if you want to make a healthy and safe dessert all you have to do is prepare a good Italian meringue!
Have a nice dessert!