The different types of meringue allow us to choose what types do we want for our desserts. I will share information about meringues today to know which ones best meet your desires for meringue. But first, let’s begin by shedding light on what meringues are and what part of our daily diet they fit.
It is an egg white mixed with sugar. Yes, that’s what meringue is. As simple as it may seem, the egg white is 90% water & 10% protein. Whisk the egg white, and the proteins unfold, creating a network of trapped air. Continue beating the egg white and create a form that increases volume. The role of sugar is to stabilize the form. The amount of sugar added depends on the purpose of meringue. For meringue kisses, use a ratio of 1 egg white to 2 parts of sugar—for example, 100g egg white and 200g sugars. Alternatively, use 1 to 1.5 meaning, 100g of egg white mixed with 150g of sugar.
One egg white is approximately 35grams, which goes with 50g of sugar. In short, don’t waste time weighing this stuff. Just use one egg white with ¼ cup of sugar, and you are good to make stiff meringues. For soft meringue as pie toppings, use the ratio of 1:1.
Below are different types of meringue for you to decide which ones you want for your desserts.
Making French meringue is easy; whisk the egg white and beat with sugar until soft peaks. When you lift it using a spoon, it forms a hook or points straight up; then it’s ready. Meringue has a light texture suitable when making soufflés, cookies, or cakes. Caution: There is a risk of salmonella if you are not baking your stuff with over 1770C for more than 15 minutes. If your eggs are not pasteurized, I suggest Swiss meringue or Italian meringue for unbaked treats.
Unlike the French meringue, the right Swiss meringue temperature is 710C. We heat the mixture to 710C with bain-marie. You can’t feel the sugar particles at the recommended Swiss meringue temperature when you rub the mixture between the fingers, but they hot. At this temperature, remove from heat and beat with a mixer until soft or stiff peaks. It depends on the intended use. The French meringue should be lighter than the Swiss meringue. As there are no more risk of salmonella, Swiss meringue are suitable for meringue kisses and pie toppings. It has a dense texture to hold its shape over pies.
Start with a syrup of sugar and water, boil the syrup up to 1180C to a firm ball of sugar. If you can’t measure the temperature, you can taste it with cold water. When you drop the syrup into cold water, it forms a ball. Beat the egg white when the temperature is about and pour slowly into syrup; this way, the egg white cooks, making it unbaked treats safe.
We have exhausted the three different types of meringue at this point. Let’s take a look at one fundamental issue that makes a meringue process a success.
If you need to stabilize your meringue, use acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar while beating the egg white. It will help stabilize the foam and reduce the possibility of overbeating the meringue. You may want to use acidic ingredients, especially French meringue because it is the most delicate one. Using a copper bowl to whip egg whites is good because of its consistency, but with acidic ingredients, the copper will dissolve into the mix hence becoming dangerous for consumption.
Carefully, you should separate the egg white from the egg yolk. First, separate egg white into a small bowl before putting it into the mixer bowl.
It is easy to separate the egg white from egg yolk when cold but beat the egg white at room temperature to give you the best volume. So, it is advisable to keep the egg whites for 30 minutes at room temperature before beating.
Ensure your mixing bowl is free from egg yolk, oil, or any fat because they will affect beating egg white.
Do not overbeat the egg white in meringue because you risk losing volume. When using meringue as pie toppings or as a dessert lightener, stop the beating at a soft peak to make folding easier.
A common problem with meringue is un-whipping. It creates an unstable meringue. Whip until you achieve a stable structure that is stiff and fluffy.
Please do not leave out the salt; it helps loosen the egg white to whipping to the fullest. And finally, use the meringue immediately after whipping. Do not whip the meringue ahead of time or whip to use it later.
How to flavor meringues
For Hazelnut Meringue, mix nuts into the basic meringue. If it is a chocolate flavor you want, three tablespoons of cocoa powder will flavor your meringue with the right chocolate flavor you like. The vanilla flavor is what you want, right? One tablespoon of vanilla extract will give your meringue the vanilla taste once the meringue dries. In a nutshell, that’s how to flavor meringues. You can be creative and incorporate other flavors into meringues for varieties.
To wrap things up
Different types of meringues allow us to choose which ones best meet our desires, but overall all meringues are perfect for desserts. Basic ingredients for meringue are egg white, sugar, and salt. You will need to carefully separate the egg yolk from the egg white and beat while adding sugar until you achieve a fluffy texture. Depending on what you want meringue for, beat, and whip the egg white until the peak is hooked or straight up. Depending on what type of meringue you are preparing, put them into the oven and heat to specific heat requirements. If you will consume your meringue unbaked, it is good to use pasteurized egg white to avert salmonella risk. But baking reduces the risk of salmonella in your meringues. To stabilize meringue, use acidic ingredients such as vinegar or lemon juice or use meringues as toppings to pies or incorporate them into cakes.