What is a super light and fluffy dessert component? Meringue! From topping lemon pie, to the base for french macaroons to pavlova, it a key component in the pastry kitchen. The best part? It is pretty darn easy to make with simple ingredient found in your kitchen. Meringue is simply sugar and egg whites whipped together.
There are three main types of meringue and how one differs from one another is how the sugar is added to the egg whites.
French style (AKA American style): The most popular and common in kitchen.
How it is made: White granulated sugar (or powdered sugar) is added to whipping eggs whites until glossy and firm.
Italian style: A very stable meringue.
How it is made: Sugar and water are cooked to a syrup to 235-240 degrees F. The hot syrup is slowly added to whipping egg whites.
Swiss style: A firm meringue.
How it is made: Over a bain-marie (AKA: water bath), egg whites and granulated sugar are whipped together until warm, then placed in a standing kitchen mixer and whipped more.
Standing kitchen mixer with whisk attachment or hand held mixer with whisk attachments: This is key. Why? The mixer will whip super-duper fast, ensuring the egg whites are properly whipped with the sugar. Don't try to whip it by hand, your arm will get exhausted.
Squeaky clean equipment and tools: From your measuring cups, to bowls, to the whisk attachment, make sure your tools are clean. Why? Any bit of debris will make the egg whites not whip to its fullest peak. Before you make meringue, take a paper towel and wipe out your equipment.
Pastry bag and pastry tip: Why? There is a good chance if you are making meringue, you are piping it for a pie, cookie, or layer base. A pastry bag and tip will make sure it is even, uniform, and pretty!
Pie topping / filling: Who doesn't love the classic lemon meringue pie? With the light sweetness of meringue, it compliments other pie flavors as well for a topping. Chiffon based pies are a base with meringue, or whipped cream, added to it. Making it lighter and fluffier!
Cookies: Meringue based cookies are light, low in fat, and pairs perfect with afternoon tea. Meringue is the base for the popular french macaroons.
Fancy desserts: Pavolva, eton mess, and souffles are all desserts with an addition of meringue.
Have fun with meringue in your kitchen!