Making French Meringue

I know and understand that I am suppose to write about the Chocolate Chips Cookie-Top Jumbo Muffins. However I decided to write on whipping the egg whites to make a French meringue (aka Common Meringue)  first because quite a number of my recipes uses the yolk and white separation method. Therefore it is really good to know.

Meringues are whipped egg whites sweetened with sugar. Frequently used for pie toppings and cake icings, they are also used to give volume and lightness to buttercream icings, mousses and dessert souffles.

French meringue (aka Common Meringue) is made from egg whites at room temperature, beaten with sugar. It is the easiest to make and rather stable due to the high percentage of sugar.

FM-1

Egg Whites Whisked to Stiff Peak

I also particularly like to use them in my pound cakes recipes, muffins recipes and of course chiffon (it is needed in chiffon anyway) because of the light tenderness it gives my cakes, the moist and I love how it doesn’t dry out when I keep my cakes out in room temperature even for a couple of days.

When I first started to self-discover the route to making meringue, I never knew that there was so much knowledge, details  to it and so much care that is needed to do it. I am by no means a professional to this topic but I believe what I know is self-sufficient as a home-baker.

Guidelines For Making Meringue

  • Fats prevent whites from foaming properly! Always use squeaky clean bowls. Any traces of grease/fat will prevent the whites from foaming well. I recommend using stainless steel or glass bowl as plastic bowl can harbour traces of grease. Also make sure there are no traces of yolk in the whites as yolk contains fat.
  • Egg whites foam better at room temperature! Always remove eggs from cooler 1 hour before whipping.
  • Sugar makes egg whites foams more stable. Meringues are thicker and heavier than unsweetened egg white foams. But egg whites can only hold a limited amount of sugar without sacrificing volume, so always follow the recipes.
  • Mild acids helps foaming. Therefore some recipes like the angel food cakes/ chiffon will call for a small amount of cream of tartar or lemon to be added to give the meringues more volume and stability.

Whisking French Meringue (with step-by-step photos)

  1. Crack the egg whites into a clean bowl. Make sure there are no traces of yolk. Yolk contains fat & it’ll prevent the egg whites from foaming well. Also put aside the precisely measured sugar in another bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg whites on medium speed. Pour 1/3 of your sugar from the side of the bowl when the liquid has turned to foam like a cappucino froth, . Turn the speed to High.
  3. Add the second 1/3 of sugar when the foam becomes finer and fluffy peaks start foaming.
  4. Add in the last 1/3 of sugar when the peaks are starting to get define, you can feel the resistance and the foam is shiny.

FM-3

Now that the meringue is done, it should have defining peaks, shiny to look and even when you overturn the bowl upside down, the meringue will not fall out. Just like this:

An overturned bowl of French Meringue.

An overturned bowl of French Meringue.

This stunt never fails to fascinate my kids. This gravity defying act is totally MAGIC to them. 🙂

Things To Note:

  1. Sugar substitutes are not useful in meringue.
  2. Always add the sugar 1/3 at a a time from the side of the bowl (not in the middle to prevent deflating the meringue) in the 3 stages peak formation: Soft, Firm and Stiff Peaks.
  3. Always use the meringue IMMEDIATELY as we do not want it to deflate. 
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