Italian Meringue

Italian Meringue

Details

This very stable meringue can be used for meringue cakes and buttercreams and to top tarts or pies.
  • Serves: Approx. 1 liter
  • Active Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Views: 31,566
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog
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Steps

Step 1: Cooking the Sugar

• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 4 tsp light corn syrup

Method

*Before starting, make sure the egg whites are at room temperature.

In a small pot (see notes), cook the sugar, water and corn syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (240° F or 115° C).

While the sugar is cooking, set up the mixer and egg whites.

Step 2: Starting the Meringue

• 4 large egg whites, room temperature

Method

Place the room-temperature egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Attach the wire whisk to the mixer.

Just as the sugar mixture reaches 240° F (or 115° C), turn the mixer on high speed.

As the eggs whip, pour the hot sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream along the side of the bowl. Make sure to not pour the syrup onto the wire whisk. This will cause the syrup to splatter and cause lumps.

Step 3: Whipping the Meringue

Method

Once all of the sugar syrup has been added, continue to whip the meringue until it has cooled completely and has formed stiff peaks.

Step 4: Using the Meringue

Method

Once the meringue has formed stiff peaks, pipe or use immediately for your dessert.

Chef's Notes

When making a small amount of sugar syrup, it is important to use a small pot. If you use a large pot, it will be too difficult to obtain an accurate thermometer reading if the syrup is spread too thin over the bottom of the pot. By using a smaller pot, you can better control and monitor the temperature to make sure you take the syrup off the heat as soon as it reaches 240° F.)

Some other helpful notes about making Italian meringue:

  • Slightly older egg whites will whip up higher than fresh ones.
  • Separate the eggs one at a time and then add them to the mixing bowl. If you run across a bad egg, or happen to break the yolk, you won’t ruin the rest of the egg whites.
  • Make sure all of your equipment is squeaky clean. If there is any trace of fat or dirt, the egg whites won’t whip up to their maximum potential.

14 Comments

  • Susan L
    Susan L
    I have never had very much success making meringue, but this recipe was so simple to follow and turned out fantastic! Thanks for a great recipe!
  • Caroline D
    Caroline D
    How much butter do i put in to make buttercream frosting?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Currently we do not have a lesson on buttercream. This will be something we will cover down the road. In the meantime, there are many recipes out there, all of which will use different ratios and amounts of butter. Cheers!
  • Tim C
    Tim C
    Here is a useful link to Meringue Buttercream - features a great step by step guide. Since its only worth making this in large quantities, any excess can be frozen easily. ITALIAN (Meringue butter cream) http://www.whisk-kid.com/2010/08/how-to-make-italian-meringue.html SWISS (Meringue butter cream) http://www.whisk-kid.com/2010/08/how-to-make-swiss-meringue-buttercream.html Happy icing!
  • Fiona L
    Fiona L
    Hi, I would like to know if it is necessary to add cream of tartar, salt or lemon juice when making French meringue (without the hot syrup method). Will adding this ingredient make the meringue more stable? Thanks.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    French meringues (also known as "uncooked meringues" are simply made by beating eggs whites and then adding sugar. Whether or not you add an acid (i.e., cream of tartar, lemon or white vinegar) depends on how stiff and stretchy you want the meringue to be. A French meringue with no acid will be more frothy and you will not really be able to shape it (used for topping things like pies or for folding into cakes etc.). Whereas a French meringue made with an acid will be creamier and firmer. The acid gives the meringue more strength and stretch (used for making things like pavlova etc.). Cheers!
  • Barb H
    Barb H
    By accident I cut the sugar in half and it still came out great, I could hardly tell the difference. I ended up with more meringue than I need and let the leftover sit in a bowl in the refrige overnight. The next day, I noticed it had separated and I figured I should toss it, but as an experiment I tried rewhipping it first to see what would happen. To my surprise it rewhipped beautifully. In fact I did the same thing the day after that and it whipped up again, though it took a bit longer. Magic!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Nice work Barbara. We love to hear stuff like that! Keep up the great work. Cheers!
  • Chris W
    Chris W
    Objectives: 1. To make a flavourful orange mousse that will hold its shape in mini tower (layers with a shortbread base, chocolate mousse & a praline disc) without using gelatine. 2. To be able to make a "safe" (Italian?) meringue (that can be used in other desserts) in small quantities. Background: I have tried many mousse recipes to complement the shortbread base, chocolate mousse and pistachio praline, all of which I am now happy with. I do not want to use uncooked eggs in the mousse. I am presently working on a combination of (i) Italian meringue with orange juice in the softball syrup (ii) crème pâtissière. With the orange jest (iii) optional soft whipped cream I have also tried with the juice in the crème pâtissière. Problems: Sometimes the crème pâtissière splits (I think it might be the orange jest, which I will now add after cooking). I have NEVER crème pâtissière or crème anglaise split on me before :(. The Italian meringue sometimes collapses (could this be the softball has gone to hardball? it blends in ok). Questions: Is there a convenient way of working with small quantities of Italian meringue? e.g. a single egg white. The problem for me is the small volume of syrup that is difficult to get an accurate thermometer reading, or the evaporation happening so quickly that it passes through the softball stage too quickly. With the orange juice the syrup has a caramel colour from the start, so colour change is not a helpful indicator. Does all the Italian meringue mixture achieve 160F/71c to cook through (even though the syrup temperature is much higher to start)?. The mixing bowl (metal in my case) will conduct some of the heat away, relatively more so with small quantities. Could a Swiss meringue be used instead? Whilst not regarded as "safe", cooking over a Bain Marie could easily raise the temperature to 160F/71C more consistently. Any thoughts will be welcome (together with videos/tutorials on the whole topic of meringues... (pretty please Rouxbe)
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Chris- Good questions, but these are a bit beyond the scope of the QA for Rouxbe instructors. I have some suggestions, which I can take one by one, but I'm not sure I'll be able to think through all of the specific variables and permutations you present. There is no easy way to make meringue with 1 egg. It's like cooking 2 tablespoons of rice - it's just not practical. Temperatures are too variable and heat dissipates too quickly in this scenario. It does sound like the syrup may be a bit hot. Or the eggs whites were not fully stable - did you add acid of any kind? If you're worries about the eggs being cooked, you can buy what are called "pasteurized eggs" - these have been flash heat treated. I cannot vouch for this product... A Swiss meringue can be used, if it fits the dish - it's up to you. I hope this helps!
  • Barb H
    Barb H
    What purpose does the corn syrup have in the sugar syrup?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    This addition helps prevent the sugar from crystalizing during the initial cooking stage for the syrup. ~Ken
  • Mims E
    Mims E
    What type of thermometer do I use? A candy thermometer? Our any food thermometer will do?
  • Fran C Rouxbe Staff
    Fran C
    Use a candy thermometer here.~ Fran

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