Made with just two ingredients – egg whites and sugar, meringue requires minimal efforts, but the results are spectacular!!
Meringue is one of those goodies that looks incredibly simple but requires an expert hand to get it right. Join us, as we help you master meringue with these simple tips.
What are the Types of Meringue?
The three main types of meringue are:
- French Meringues – This is the most common type of meringue and is the easiest. It’s made with just egg whites and sugar.
- Italian Meringues – This method involves pouring the hot sugar syrup into your egg whites.
- Swiss Meringues – This uses the same ingredients as French meringues, but you need to whip up these ingredients on top of a hot water bath, thereby forming fluffy and whipping light peaks.
Tip #1: Working with Egg Whites
Egg whites are the star ingredients of your meringue. Let’s start from here. The first point you have to ensure is that the eggs are at room temperature. Separate the eggs as soon as you take them out from the fridge, and set aside the egg whites until they reach room temperature. This takes around 30 minutes.
Remember, that chilled eggs are easier to separate and room temperature whites give you better volume when you whip them.
Tip #2: Cleanliness Matters
Make sure that all the equipment you use is clean and free of any leftover grease. Even a tiny bit of grease left over from the buttercream; you made last week, is enough to wreck your meringues.
This is why expert bakers don’t use plastic bowls for mixing. This is because plastic tends to absorb grease. Instead, make use of glass, steel or ceramic bowls.
Another handy tip is to wipe out your mixing bowl and all other utensils with a dash of vinegar. This helps to remove leftover grease completely while adding a touch of acid, that stabilizes your egg whites.
Tip #3: No Yellows, Strictly
Just like leftover grease, even a small amount of egg yolk is enough to ruin your meringues. Just a tiny amount of yolk prevents your egg whites from fluffing up and reaching voluminous heights.
While separating eggs, make sure to crack them on your kitchen counter, a plate or any other flat surface. This ensures that stray egg shells don’t pierce the yolks. Another tip is to separate eggs in a temporary bowl and then transfer each egg white to your mixing bowl. This way, even if a yolk breaks, you don’t spoil an entire lot of egg whites.
Tip #4: Humidity is Meringue’s Biggest Enemy
Just like a picnic, you need to choose the right day to make meringues. When you work on a super humid day, you are likely to mix moist air into your egg whites, making them collapse, feel a bit stale or go sticky.
Even if you manage to beat the odds and bake a great batch of meringues on a rainy day, make sure to pop them into a sealed container quickly.
Tip #5: Don’t Overbeat
Go easy on your egg whites. Overbeating causes them to quickly transform from soft peaks into a liquidy, lumpy mess. If using a stand mixer, make sure to keep a careful eye on your egg whites.
If you overbeat them a bit extra, then you can try to salvage the situation by adding in another egg white. This visual tutorial gives you a clear idea of the various stages of whipping egg whites and helps you know when to stop.
Tip #6: Sneak in some Helping Ingredients
If you are worried about overbeating the whites, then you can use some sneaky ingredients like – lemon juice, vinegar, cream of tartar – all of which help in stabilizing the egg whites, preventing you from overbeating.
But make sure that you add in the right amounts – ¼ lemon juice, ¼ tsp of vinegar or 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar for each egg white. Add these ingredients when your egg whites start frothing, but before they form stiff peaks.
Tip #7: Getting the Sugar Right
The fail-proof ratio to follow is – 1:2. This means for 1 large egg white, you will have to add 60 gm of sugar. If you need cup measurements, here is the ratio to follow – for every ½ cup of egg white, add 1 cup of sugar.
Make sure that all the sugar is dissolved completely, as undissolved sugar forms cracks on your meringue. To check whether sugar has completely dissolved, rub the mixture between your fingers. If you notice any grittiness, then you need to keep whipping.
Add sugar only when you have got stable peaks on your egg whites. Don’t dump the entire sugar at one go. Instead, gradually add one tablespoon of sugar at a time and keep whipping. Caster sugar or sugar syrup works well for meringues, as they dissolve quickly, without leaving any traces.
Tip #8: Figuring out the Flavour
Adding flavours to your meringue is a bit tricky, as any flavouring agent you add should add too much moisture to it. Look for small amounts of extracts – cocoa, spices, or fruity flavours. Alternatively, baking pastes are a great option since they add the flavour minus the moisture.
Tip #9: The Corn Flour Debate
Some bakers swear by corn flour for meringues, while others wouldn’t touch it with a pole. Ultimately, it’s your personal preference. Adding corn flour prevents meringues from folding in and collapsing. On the other hand, adding too much corn flour prevents your meringues from getting that satisfying, crunchy outer shell.
Tip #10: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Meringues are delicate desserts, and you need to handle them with care. Start by whipping your egg whites at slow speeds, until you get stable bubbles. Then, slowly increase the speed, but make sure that you don’t overbeat it.
The same applies while baking too. Make sure that your oven is not set at a high temperature, to dry out your meringue. And, don’t open your oven door for the first 30 minutes, as meringues are highly sensitive and loss of heat while cooking causes cracking. You know the meringue is done when it peels away from the baking paper easily.
You are Ready to Make the Perfect Meringue
Here we at Gurgaon Bakers, one of the best bakery in Gurgaon. in this post, we shared a proper recipe of meringues.
Make use of these tips listed here to create yummy meringues in your kitchen. Happy Baking!