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The Magic and Mayhem of Making Meringue




Meringue is a light, airy and beautifully sweet dessert, originally from France, made from stiffly whipped egg whites and sugar. It’s actually really simple to make, yet people seem to think it’s very a difficult and temperamental technique.


When you see how easy and cheap this is you’ll never buy meringues from the store again!  


There are three main types of meringue: French meringue, Swiss meringue and Italian meringue.


And I’m going to tell you the difference, what they’re used for and how to make them all.   


Diva Tip – It’s extremely important to keep the yolks separate from the whites. Fat from egg yolk will prevent egg whites from beating properly. When separating eggs, take care that no yolk gets in the whites.


To avoid an accident, use the Three Bowl Method. Separate each egg white into a cup or small bowl before transferring the yolk to a second bowl and the whites to a third bowl. Use any white that has even a speck of yolk in it for another purpose.


Also be sure your bowl and mixer beaters are free from any grease or fat and completely dry.


Don’t discard the yolks!  You can make delicious custard with the yolks. Like the one in this recipe – Strawberry Rose Tart – Spectacular Tart is Surprisingly EasyOMG! Look at this tart! A sugar cookie crust filled with rich vanilla custard, topped with strawberry roses. And it tastes even better than it looks.



Sometimes called ordinary meringue or soft meringue. Soft meringue is used to top pies like Lemon Meringue Pie. You’ll find it topping other desserts too, like rice and bread puddings and can be used in Baked Alaska. It’s the base of many dessert soufflés like chocolate, vanilla or lemon soufflé. It’s also folded into batters for angel food cake, lady fingers and sponge cakes.


This method is also the starting point for savory recipes containing meringue like, cheese soufflé and salmon soufflé. Just omit the sugar, of course.


French meringue can also be spooned or piped into shapes and baked to make dessert shells, it can be baked into cookies or cute little cookies called kisses and I love to make meringue ghosts for Halloween.




I use this one for my Pavlova – How to Make the Perfect Summer Dessert – Mixed Berry Pavlova




This versatile mixture may be used to create either soft or hard meringues.





What You’ll Need:


  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla




Here’s How:


  1. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a metal or glass bowl with a hand mixer or the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment on high speed and whip until foamy.
  2. Beating constantly; add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until sugar is well dissolved before adding the next. (To test if your sugar is dissolved; rub a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger; it should feel completely smooth.) Continue beating until whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. WhippingEggWhites2
  3. Add vanilla and blend one more time.
  4. Proceed according to your recipe or bake according to the instructions below.


SOFT PEAKS – this refers to how the meringue looks when you pull the beater out. You’re looking for soft peaks that curl at the tips when the beater or whisk is lifted. If the peaks stay stiff and unmoving, that’s stiff peaks and it may mean the eggs are over beaten.




As a general rule – For each egg white add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar and ¼ cup of sugar.




Swiss meringue is made by gently beating egg whites and sugar in a double boiler or pan that sits above boiling water, without touching it. When the mixture reaches 120° to 130° and the sugar is totally dissolved (about 3 minutes) it’s put into the bowl of a hand or stand mixer and whipped to full volume. Then the mixer speed is turned to low while the mixture is cooled. The result is a lovely, very solid meringue.  




Swiss meringue is smoother, glossier, and more dense than French meringue and is frequently used as the base for buttercream frostings. It’s also good for people with concern about uncooked egg whites as the precooking before whipping make the eggs very safe.


This versatile mixture may be used to create either soft or hard meringues.




What You’ll Need:


  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Here’s How:


  1. Fill a medium saucepan one quarter full with water. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer.
  2. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer or metal mixing bowl; combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar.  Place the bowl over the saucepan. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved. You can test by rubbing between your fingers. Using a food or candy thermometer whisk until the mixture reaches 120° to 130° – about 3 to 3 ½ minutes.  Remove the bowl from the heat and place on your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  3. Whip, starting on low speed and gradually increasing until you’re beating quite vigorously until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Then lower the speed until cool and very stiff. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use meringue immediately. 




This is the best way to make a really stable meringue. Italian meringue is made by very slowly pouring hot sugar syrup over stiffly beaten egg whites while beating constantly until the mixture is smooth and satiny. This method is preferred by those concerned about uncooked egg whites as the hot syrup cooks the egg.


Italian meringue is often used to frost cakes (alone or as an addition to buttercream frostings), to top filled pies, or to lighten ice creams, sorbets, and mousses. I use this for my Impressive Yet Cheap! Baked Alaska – it’s The Bombe

This versatile mixture may be used to create either soft or hard meringues.




What You’ll Need:


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt


Here’s How:


  1. In a small sauce pan, bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Next continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup registers 248 degrees on a candy thermometer.Melted Sugar Karo and Water
  2. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites with a stand or hand mixer on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt. Increase the speed to medium and whisk until soft peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low, and pour your hot syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Increase the speed to high, and whisk until mixture stops steaming, about 3 minutes. This can be used immediately.PouringHotSyrupIntoMeringue


Meringues are easiest to make with a stand mixer but I’ve used a hand mixer.  A hand mixer gets the job dome but takes more time. I wouldn’t try to make meringues by hand it’s too much work for a Diva or Divo. 


Here are some stand mixers I can recommend at several price points for everyone.  If you don’t have one I would encourage you to invest on one. So many food items you probably buy become so easy to make yourself. We know homemade is always better and at a lower cost.
A stand mixer makes preparing meringue a joy. Here are two at different price points I can personally recommend:


Hamilton Beach 64650 6-Speed Classic Stand Mixer, Stainless Steelblank

KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Redblank


(If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you may not see the price after clicking through the links. Simply add it to your cart to see the price, you can always remove it later. Or you can try a FREE 30 day trial of Amazon Prime.)


Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trialblank





Julia Child said – “Every woman should have a blow torch”


For times when you want the meringue to be browned but remain soft, like lemon meringue pie, or Baked Alaska, you can either quickly bake at high temperature or use a kitchen torch.


To Bake

Place the whole dessert in an oven preheated to 500° just long enough for the meringue to caramelize and brown. Turn the dessert often for even browning. 


To Torch

Light the torch, carefully.  Hold the torch as far away as you can and still get browning. It’s actually quite fun to do. As you work, you can get closer on some areas to highlight peaks for a beautiful result.


If you’re making Baked Alaska, you’ll love having a kitchen torch – Best Culinary Torch, Best Creme Brulee Torch, Professional Food Torch, Versatile and Easy To Use Kitchen Torch With Safety Lockblank






This is what you call meringue that has been baked in an oven. They are solid to the touch and light as air. They can shatter when you bite into them and dissolve pleasingly on the tongue. Hard meringue can be eaten as a confection, a cookie or used as a base for other desserts. 


What You’ll Need:


Any of the recipes above can be made into hard meringues. Hard meringues are often flavored with a small amount of extract, like almond, coconut, or most commonly, vanilla.


Here’s How:


Hard meringues begin by being piped or spooned onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. They can be any size but the smaller they are, the faster they will bake.  
They’re baked at a very low temperature (about 225°F) for as long as 2 hours and then left in the turned-off oven until completely dry. One name for meringue cookies is “Forgotten Cookies” as they can be left in an oven for long periods of time after the cooking is done.


Hard meringues can be baked until completely dry or just until crisp on the outside and still chewy inside. You can shape your meringues in any way. It’s especially nice to form them with a center depression that you can fill with ice cream, custard, whipped cream or fruit.  
Tiny, little one or two bite meringues are called kisses and are eaten as a sweet little confection. They often are made with chopped nuts, cherries or coconut.


Warning! Cooked meringues cannot be refrigerated or they will become soggy like cardboard.  But they will keep for at least a week if you store them in an airtight container.


 Due diligence – Raw eggs should not be used in food prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised.


You may also like – Grilled Red, White & Blueberry Donut Shortcake   Two Ingredient Ice Cream 





Versatile and Easy To Use Kitchen Torch With Safety Lock




Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Classic Stand Mixer




KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield




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