Meringues are crumbly, sweet, airy and delicious to the core. There are three types of meringues – the Swiss Meringue, the Italian Meringue and the French Meringue. Of the three, the latter is the simplest to make and the most popular too. In comparison to the Swiss and Italian methods, the French method results in a shatteringly light and crisp meringue while the other two are more dense & candylike.
Regardless of the meringue you are making, when you look for recipes online, you will find there are a number of dos & don’ts. Here we just try to make things simple and provide you some basic information about the ingredients, equipment and some common mistakes to avoid; so you get melt-in-the-mouth meringues every single time.
French Meringue Ingredients (serves 6-8)
- 100 gms of egg whites (a few days old; these will rise much better)
- 100 gms of fine sugar
- 100 gms of icing sugar (sifted)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
- Few drops vanilla essence
For crispier meringues, leave them in the oven for a little longer. Some recipes call for leaving them in the oven for at least 4 hours at 50C to 60°C (till they get completely dehydrated).
- 2 Mixing Bowls (One large, one small)
- Egg yolk separator
- Electric whisk
- Piping bag
- Parchment paper
- Baking tray
- Cup measure
Mistakes to avoid
Just as with any other baking, making meringues is a skill that will have to be honed with a certain amount of practice (well, a lot of practice), before you get those perfect morsels of crispy heaven. Here are some of the pitfalls you should avoid. This will help you reach perfection in the art of meringue-making much faster:
If there are any traces of grease in your bowl, it will prevent the egg whites from expanding to their fullest. It’s best to use glass, copper or metal bowls and stay away from plastic. You could rub the bowl with 1/2 a cut lemon & then wipe it dry before you start making the meringue.
Allowing yolk to fall into the whites
Even a little bit of yolk can prevent full whippage as yolk has fat content in it. Use a yolk separator if you aren’t too confident with completely separating the egg whites.
Using fresh eggs
Most novice bakers make extra efforts to ensure they procure the freshest ingredients and do the same for their meringues. Ironically, older eggs (a couple of days old) work better for meringues. Since the whites are runnier, it’s easier to create more volume.
Overbeating egg whites
It’s common to assume that beating the whites for longer will make the meringues lighter. That isn’t the case – once you see stiff peaks in the egg whites, just stop whipping them. If you over-whip them, they will go grainy and that will ruin the texture of the meringue.
Baking at the wrong temperature
While the recipe you use to make meringues will mention the temperature to be used, it’s important to understand that every oven is different; you should get to know your oven. This means, when it comes to making meringues, it’s almost always a matter of trial and error.
Opening the oven door while the meringues are cooking
The oven needs to be completely dry with no humidity- so just wait patiently for the meringues to get ready; don’t open the oven door every now and then to check whether they are.
If you feel that it’s just too much trouble making meringues, Ganache Patisserie is always at your service with the choicest meringues and other baked goodies and savoury treats.
Thanks for reading,
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