Meringue types and their uses
Meringues are delicious desserts that mainly comprise of egg whites and sugar. The trick in making them is in beating the egg whites and adding the sugar syrup at the right temperature so that the dish stays in a single semi-solid state when it is served. The difficult part about making a meringue is getting the consistency right. First, you will have to get through the entire process of how to beat eggs efficiently to get the perfect peaks. One small error and you will find yourself repeating the entire process. Once you get the hang of whisking the egg whites to the right consistency, the rest is rather easy. Keep in mind that you cannot use a sugar substitute or an artificial sweetener to make your meringue. The dish can only be made when you use actual sugar, as it is vital to the composition of the dessert, and the reactions that take place in order to achieve the texture and taste.
The French meringue
The most commonly made meringue is the French meringue. Most home cooks follow this recipe, as it is easy, and quick. To make a French meringue, all you have to do is beat the sugar into the egg whites while you search for the required consistency. Once you are done, you can make different cookie shapes to make your dessert look fancier. To get the slightly crunchy feel to the meringue, you will have to bake it very lightly. You may also sprinkle some roasted almonds on top of each raw cookie, just before baking. This dish melts in your mouth if made perfectly. Perfection in making french meringue cookies depends on two factors;
- baking temperature
- length of baking time
WARNING: French meringue is NOT intended to be eaten as is on top of desserts. Why? It consists of raw egg whites. The raw egg whites could contain a bacteria known as Salmonella which can result in food poisoning.
The Swiss meringue
The Swiss meringue is slightly more complicated than the French one. Here, you will have to perform the same basic process. However, you will be doing it over a double boiler, so that the egg whites are warmed while you whisk them. Once you are done with this, you will have to whisk them again, without the boiler this time, and allow the whites to cool. Later you may bake lightly to get a slightly crunchy feel.
The Italian meringue
An Italian meringue is probably the most stable form of the dessert. In this case, you will be beating sugar syrup that is boiling hot into the egg whites. Other meringues require you to use powdered sugar. Here, the boiling syrup stabilizes the dish, making it easy to use even without having to cook it. You could use this for multiple purposes, but for a meringue, you will have to bake it for a little while.
For more information on the subject, and the exact quantity of ingredients used, see our step by step video tutorials on meringue types and their uses.