Meringue is a sweet and super yummy treat made from egg whites and sugar, and sometimes with added flavourings. Some people may know meringues as “the forgotten cookies”.
But how do you get the perfect, shiny meringue, a meringue that also tastes delicious?
Here is my advice, hopefully you will be able to make perfect meringue in no time.
- It’s very important that all your equipment is spotlessly clean: a tiny drop of fat, or the tiniest bit of egg yolk may ruin your meringue, making it flat instead of tall and fluffy. To make sure your bowl is completely clean: rub it with the cut side of 1/2 lemon before adding the egg whites.
- You can of course buy egg whites instead of separating them yourself. 100 ml egg whites equals 3 egg whites.
- It’s easier to separate the egg whites from the yolks if the eggs are cold. Separate the eggs straight from the refrigerator, then cover the whites with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before making meringue.
- Make sure all your equiment is completely clean and dry. Bowls made from plastic and melanine may have small traces of fat from previous use.
- I recommend using a metal or glass bowl when making meringue. I prefer metal, you can get the one I’m using here.
- I use regular sugar when making meringue from the Vanilla bean frosting mixture. If you are making meringue where the egg whites need to be whisked before adding the sugar – use superfine (caster) sugar if you can get it.
- The sugar isn’t there purely for sweetening, it also gives the mixture more volume. Superfine (caster) sugar will dissolve more easily, but if you can’t get it – whizz regular sugar in a food processor until fine, about 1-2 minutes.
Cream of tartar
- Cream of tartar isn’t stricktly necessary when making meringue, but it stabilizes the mixture.
- If you can’t get cream of tartar, use a few drops lemon juice.
Kitchen stand mixer or hand held electric whisk?
- You can make a fab meringue even if you don’t have a kitchen machine or electric whisk.
- The advantages of using a stand mixer or an electric whisk: the meringue will be very fluffy, and it will save you time. Using a stand mixer may also make the meringue mixture more stable.
- That being said, today I made meringue with this pretty hand held electric whisk from Dualit, it is available in both pink and pale blue. I got mine here.
Ovens – normal or fan assisted?
- I always use the fan setting when I make meringue. The result is a crunchier outside, and the meringues cook more evenly.
- If your oven doesn’t have a fan setting, you can still make fab meringue, but I recommend leaving the cooked meringues in the turned-off oven for a few more hours.
How can you tell if the meringue is finished baking?
- It’s hard to tell exactly when the meringue is done, but the easiest way to check this is to release one from the baking paper. If it comes off easily, it’s done, if it sticks, bake for a few more minutes.
- When I make meringues using the recipe for Vanilla bean frosting, I bake them at 210 F (100 C) for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and leave them in there over night. (Hence the name “forgotten” – rumour has it that a lady once forgot the meringue in the oven, then woke up to the most deliciously crunchy meringues.)
- I bake a large meringue for 2-3 hours, making sure not to open the oven door during that time. Opening the oven door during baking may cause the meringue to sink and/or crack.
- If you want to add some coloring paste to the mixture: add just a few drops towards the end of whisking. Too much food coloring may affect the taste.
- You may add flavorings to your meringue, such as essences, or you can dust with cocoa powder or raw licorice powder, or use sprinkles.
Nozzles / tips
- Using a piping bag fitted with a nozzle makes the meringues pretty, and it also makes the job less time consuming.
- There is a vast selection of nozzles/tips out there, use your favourites.
- Take a look at this blog post on how to pipe pretty swirls, etc.
I prefer to use my recipe for Vanilla bean frosting when I make meringues, you can find it here.
About the recipe for Vanilla bean frosting; it’s important to follow the instructions closely. The sugar needs to dissolve with the egg whites over a pan of simmering water before you start the actual whisking.
At this point, all you need is a hand held whisk. If you don’t take the time to do this before whisking the meringue, you will end up with a grainy meringue with visible sugar granules.
Here is a close-up of my whisk after dissolving the sugar with the egg whites over a water bath. You can see that the sugar is dissolved, but the mixture is not whisked to a white meringue.
When the sugar is dissolved and you start whisking with an electric whisk – start on low speed, about 4 minutes, before increasing the speed for the last 3-4 minutes.
You can find the recipe for these pretty pink meringues here.
If you are a fan of licorice – add some raw licorice powder to the mixture.
You can find the recipe for these meringue buttons here.
Chocolate meringue clouds – find the recipe here.
The Dualit electric whisks are available in pink and pale blue, www.bakerenogkokken.no (Norway) and www.bagarenochkocken.se (Sweden).
I get most of my tips/nozzles, piping bags and flavour essences from www.cacas.no.
I hope you are feeling more confident when it comes to making meringue. If you like tutorials and posts like this – let me know!
I’m going to enjoy a cup of tea and a meringue dusted with cocoa powder. I use Valrhona cocoa powder, you can find it here.
Hugs from me to you.