Meringue: The Different Types

Meringue is an extremely versatile preparation in pastry: it can be used as a decoration or as a base for cakes and semifreddo.

As such, this is a basic pastry preparation, consisting of whipped egg whites and sugar.

But as simple as the ingredients may seem, the realization challenges anyone.

It is possible to distinguish three ways of preparation , which differ both for the moment in which the sugar is added and for the temperatures reached during processing.

Just as sponge cakes have their tricks, meringues also have them and each thing makes them different.

Types of Meringues:

Italian meringue

Italian meringue is mainly used in professional pastry. It has, in fact, a more elaborate process.

Preparation:

For the preparation, first of all put the egg white in the bastardella and operate the planetary mixer at maximum power.

At the same time, sugar and water are cooked together in a saucepan at a temperature of 121 ° C, checking with a caramelometer.

As soon as the syrup reaches the desired temperature, it is necessary to pour it flush over the egg whites and bring the speed to maximum, until completely cooled.

This type is mainly used to lighten and give volume to some preparations, such as parfaits and mousses.

It can also be baked au gratin in order to obtain the typical burnt appearance, ideal for decorating cakes.

French meringue

Unlike Italian meringue, French meringue is prepared cold and is a bit easier to make.

However, there are three different types of French meringues, light, medium and heavy flavor; the classification is based on the proportion of egg whites and sugar.

Preparation:

The sugar is added several times to the whipped egg whites at room temperature.

Once the meringue of a foamy consistency is obtained, it must be cooked in the oven for a few hours, depending on the size. The oven temperature should be around 90-120 ° C. 

To obtain a frothy and crumbly meringue,  it is possible to add half the quantity of granulated sugar at the beginning of the preparation and the other half later, as icing sugar.

Alternatively, for a more consistent result, to be used for example as a base for cakes, it is possible to increase the quantity of sugar in the recipe.

This preparation is used as a base for cakes and parfaits or as a decoration, forming the classic spumiglie.

Swiss meringue

Of the 3, this is the firmest and most consistent, which is why it is usually used for decorating cakes and others.

Preparation:

The sugar is previously heated with the egg whites in a frying pan until reaching a temperature of 55-60° C. Preferably in a water bath.

Once the mixture is homogeneous and the sugar crystals no longer sit, pour it into the blender for at least 10 minutes.

To know if the meringue is already at the point, it must form firm peaks that do not go down despite the movement.

Conclusions:

The meringue seems to be a simple recipe because of its ingredients, but in reality it requires a lot of care in its preparation so that it can work.

  1. Too much heat can crack the appearance, making it raw inside.
  2. It is important to be measuring the temperature in each of the preparations, since they are all different.
  3. Identify the use of each meringue, as they do not exactly serve the same purpose.
  4. When making a meringue you must know how to choose between icing sugar and granulated sugar, both fulfill different functions.
  5. Macarons are a kind of meringue, but these require almond flour.
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