Meringue is a flavorful, smooth and sweet mixture that is used as a topping for pies such as lemon meringue and coconut cream. It's made from whipped egg whites: it's that simple. Meringue is not difficult to make and adds a gourmet touch to desserts. See Step 1 and others to find out how to do this.
- 4 whites.
- 1 cup of granulated sugar.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing to make meringue
Step 1. Expect it to be a dry day
Meringue is made by beating the egg whites so that they are aerated, thus gaining volume and becoming white and soft. The texture of meringue is best when the air is dry because the presence of water can make it heavy. On rainy or humid days, the air contains a higher percentage of water. That's why meringue is easier to make and gains correct volume and texture when you make it on a dry day rather than a rainy day.
On rainy days, try to beat the meringue longer so that it doesn't spoil
Step 2. Use clean stainless steel or glass fixtures
Bowls made from plastic are more difficult to clean and often have traces of oil and other materials that can affect the quality of the meringue. Use clean stainless steel or glass bowls and dry utensils to make the meringue.
Even a drop or two of water can ruin a meringue, so dry the bowl thoroughly
Step 3. Use older eggs
The egg white texture changes as the eggs age, becoming thinner. Eggs that are three or four days old are whiter but firmer than those that are extremely fresh. If you buy the eggs from the supermarket, the chances that they've been there for a few days is great, so they must be in the right spot. If you shop at a farm, ask how long the eggs have so you know when to use them.
Step 4. Separate the eggs
You can use an egg separator or do it by hand. Meringue does not require egg yolks, so set them aside and use them for custard or ice cream. The fastest way to separate eggs is to do the following:
- Hold an egg over a stainless steel or glass bowl.
- Break the egg at the edge of the bowl, letting the white fall into the bowl.
- Carefully separate the eggshell halves and pass the yolk from one half to the other half, letting the white fall. Continue until all the whites are in the bowl and all that's left is the yolk.
- If you still need practice with this technique, separate each egg into a small container and pour the whites into the larger bowl you're using. That way you won't spoil all the whites by accidentally dropping the last egg yolk you break.
Step 5. Leave them at room temperature
Egg whites at room temperature will get bigger and more voluminous when you beat them. Let them return to room temperature for a few minutes instead of whipping them while they're still chilled.
Part 2 of 3: Beat the egg whites
Step 1. Beat egg whites to form soft peaks
Use an electric mixer to start whisking the egg whites into the bowl. Beat them for a few minutes, or until they become frothy and gain volume. Continue beating until the egg whites have formed soft, flexible peaks that will retain their shape but are not stiff.
- Egg whites should be in a large, tall bowl and the mixer should be set to medium-high speed.
- Beating egg whites into snow by hand is possible, but it takes much, much longer than using an electric mixer and it's impossible to achieve the same texture.
- If you are making meringues, you will need to add cream of tartar and other flavorings at this point in the process.
Step 2. Add sugar gradually
Continue beating, add a few teaspoons of sugar at a time. The sugar will slowly dissolve in the whites and make them hard and shiny. Keep adding sugar until you've used the amount you want; continue beating until it is fully dissolved.
- Most meringue recipes call for 1/4 cup of sugar for each egg white.
- If you want a softer meringue, add less sugar. You can only add 2 tablespoons for each egg white. For a harder meringue, add more sugar. This will give the meringue structure and shine.
Step 3. Continue beating until peaks are hard and shiny
Finally, the snow whites will harden and take on a lustrous shine. Rub some meringue between your fingers; if it's grainy, it means you need to keep beating for a few more minutes to let the sugar finish dissolving. If it's tender, the meringue is ready to be baked.
Another way to tell if the meringue is ready is to dip a spoon into the mixture and hold it upside down; if it slides across the spoon, keep tapping. If it sticks to the spoon, it's probably ready
Part 3 of 3: Baking the meringue
Step 1. Make the meringue before filling
This gives time for the meringue to rest before covering the pie which will help keep it firm while it's being baked. Here are some suggestions for delicious pie recipes that call for a meringue topping:
- Lemon pie.
- Coconut Cream Pie.
- Raspberry pie with meringue.
- Lemon Cream Pie.
Step 2. Spread the meringue over the hot pie filling
Prepare the dough with the hot filling, ready for the meringue. Spoon the meringue over the filling evenly. Continue this process until you have a large amount of meringue on top of the pie.
- The meringue should completely cover the filling, and over the entire surface (to the edge of the crust). This helps ensure that it won't drip while cooking.
- Many bakers spread the meringue to form a 'hill' in the middle of the pie. This gives a nice effect when you cut the pie.
Step 3. Make dimples with the meringue
Use the back of a spoon to dip the meringue and lift it, allowing waves and spikes to form. This is a popular way to make meringue more decorated.
Step 4. Bake the meringue at a low temperature
Each pie recipe is a little different, but most recipes will tell you to bake the meringue at around 163°C for 20 or 30 minutes so it has time to bake. The candy is ready when a kitchen thermometer shows an internal temperature of 70 °C.