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Also known as Foam ‘is a very light item of patisserie made from stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar'. Meringue became popular in the 6th century and was popularized by the Queen Marie Antoinette who had a great liking for meringues. The use of meringue by piping was invented by Careme. Meringues are made by incorporating enough sugar to both stabilize and sweeten the meringue.



There are three types of meringues:-


1. Meringues ordinaire or common meringues




  • Egg whites must be carefully separated and put in a clean bowl; this must be done carefully so that no particles of the egg yolk must mix with the egg white.

  • Beat the egg whites until frothy and then start to add the sugar which has been previously ground to a very fine powder, the sugar must be added gradually. Once the sugar is incorporated, whip the meringue to soft, medium or stiff peak, or as required by the recipe.

  • This type of meringue can be used to top a pie, to pipe and bake into shells or used to create borders and other decorations. Since the whites are not heated to a safe temperature, this type of meringue should be used for applications where it will be cooked by poaching or baking.


2. Meringue Swiss:-

Beat 225 gms of egg whites till frothy, add 450 gms of powdered sugar. Beat over double boiler to the desired peak, according to the recipe.

3. Italian meringue:-

  • Make sugar syrup using 450 gms sugar and 120 ml of water and boil the mixture upto 116 degrees C.

  • Beat 225gm of egg white to the soft peak stage.

  • Add sugar syrup to the egg whites in a thick steady stream whilst continuing to beat.

  • After all the sugar syrup has been incorporated, continue to beat the mixture to the desired peak.

  • The end product has a finer grain and is more stable than the other meringues.

  • Italian meringue may also be used to prepare baked shells, cookies or left unbaked to use as a filling or as the base for Italian butter cream.

The addition of some other ingredient or flavouring to meringue can create an almost infinite number of variations, eg, Japonaise where ground almond is added. Small meringues are easier to make than big ones. Very small ones are known as meringuettes or crogugnols,and is used as petit fours.

Dutch calls them schuimpjes.


Large meringues are called Vacherin.

Rules for making meringues:-

  • Only absolutely clean and dry bowls preferably ceramic, glass or stainless steel to be used for making meringues.

  • Fat inhibits foaming.

  • Mild acid like lemon juice or cream of tartar helps foaming.

  • Egg whites foam better at room temperature.

  • Do not over beat egg whites for they will look dry and curdled.

  • Sugar makes the foam stable, but it can also cause weeping because of absorption of water.

Other examples of meringues are Vacherin, Pavlova and Baked Alaska.

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