Desserts

November 22, 2021

Classic Italian Meringue

Classic Italian Meringue

Knowing how to make Italian meringue is a must know skill and one that can make it seem like you're a pro baker.


One of our favorite things is that Italian meringue is so versatile! You can use when it you're baking a cake, making a frosting, or topping a pie or baked good. It doesn't only look beautifully glossy and fluffy but it tastes amazing!

What is Italian Meringue and how does it work?


Besides being known as an angelically-sweet cloud of goodness, a meringue is also considered to be a whipped mixture of egg whites and sugar.


The reason egg whites can go from being a liquid, to being foamy, to being soft peaks, and then being firm peaks, is because of their protein structure. When the egg whites' proteins are exposed to air in the form of being whipped, the protein molecules bond with the air molecules and trap them in, which results in the change in texture. The more air particles, the tighter the bond, which explains why the mixture becomes more solid. The bond, however, can be broken by over whipping. The egg whites can become overwhelmed by the amount of air molecules and will result in a broken emulsion. If this happens, the egg whites will deflate and resort back to its foamy-liquid state.


Adding sugar to this whipped egg whites helps stabilize the emulsion because the sugar absorbs some of the water molecules and allows for a tighter emulsion. The reason meringues rise so much in the oven is because of all the air that is trapped within the whites. When introduced to hot temperatures, these air molecules rise, which further expand the molecules which creates greater volume. The expansion is typically stabilized or hardened when the proteins coagulate through cooking. This explains why cakes such as angel food or chiffon cakes can retain their light and airy texture permanently.

Types of Meringue


While we love making Italian meringue the best, there are actually three different types of meringues. The technique you use will determine which meringue you end up with. Here are three types:

  • French/Common Meringue: The French, or Common Meringue, as it is also referred to, is a mixture of uncooked egg whites that are whipped with sugar until soft or stiff peaks. While it is certainly the easiest meringue to make, it is also the least stable. This type of meringue is most commonly used to lighten batters such as chiffon cakes or souffles.
  • Swiss Meringue: With a Swiss Meringue, sugar is added to the egg whites and then whisked while being cooked over a double-boiler until the sugar is dissolved and the whites are warm. The mixture is then transferred to a stand mixer and is mixed for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is room temperature and stiff in texture. This meringue is more stable than a common meringue and is great for pie toppings or being baked.
  • Italian Meringue: As mentioned above, the Italian Meringue is the most stable because the egg whites are cooked by the hot syrup and the proteins in the whites coagulate around the syrup molecules, creating a very stable emulsion. This is perfect for lightening mousses or topping pies, but is not preferred when lightening batters to bake because it will not rise as much as the common meringue in the oven.

Ingredients for the best Italian meringue

While making Italian Meringue can seem intimating and might take some practice to get it perfect, you only need three ingredients and you most likely already have them in your kitchen! Here is all you need:

  • Egg whites
  • Granulated sugar
  • Water

Tips on making Classic Italian Meringue


To overly simplify the process of making Italian meringue, you are basically dissolving granulated sugar into water and heating it to 230 F and then adding it to whipped egg whites.

The syrup (230 F) + Mixer + Egg Whites = Meringue!

  1. Separating the egg whites: Make sure not to let any egg yolks get into the whites when separating. I always use three bowls when separating eggs for meringue and go one by one. Crack an egg into the first bowl, pull the egg yolk out and set aside. Transfer the separated white into your mixing bowl and repeat.
  2. Timing is everything when whipping the egg whites: If the egg whites become too stiff they will deflate and you will have to start from scratch. It is best to start whipping the whites on a slow speed while you start the syrup and then gradually increase the speed of the mixer when the syrup gets close to 235 F (around 220 F). You want the whites to be between soft and firm peaks when you add the syrup and the mixture should still be smooth and glossy.
  3. Leaving the egg whites at room temperature: If you leave the egg whites out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before whipping (slightly warm), they will be easier to whip.
  4. Don't agitate the pot: Try not to agitate the pot when making the syrup. If the syrup travels up the side of the pot when cooking, then sugar particles could get stuck on the sides of the pot and burn or cause the rest of the sugar crystals to crystallize.
  5. Adding acidity: While it is certainly not necessary, the addition of an acidic product such as a pinch of cream of tartar, a splash of lemon juice, or a drop of vinegar, can help prepare the egg whites for whipping. Simply add your preferred ingredients right before whipping.
  6. Torch the meringue: Want to make it even extra special? Torch the meringue for a toasted marshmallow-esque experience. It's so worth it!

We hope you enjoy this incredibly sweet flavored, silky textured Classic Italian Meringue


Cheers and eat well!

Classic Italian Meringue

With its sweet flavor, silky texture, and ability to be torched like a campfire marshmallow, this Italian Meringue is everything a sweets-lover could ever want.

Author:

Jamie Imlah

Prep:

5

min

cook:

15

min

total:

20

min

serves:

8

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 8 ounces granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces water
  • Instructions

    1. Separate 4 eggs so that the whites have no yolk in them whatsoever.
    2. Add them to the mixing bowl in your stand mixer, fitted with the whip attachment.
    3. Begin whipping on the lowest speed setting.
    4. While whipping, add the sugar and water to a small saucepot and stir to dissolve the sugar.
    5. Heat the sugar/water mixture over medium-high heat and bring to a steady simmer. Once simmering, adjust heat to achieve a consistent steady simmer.
    6. Continue to cook the syrup until you reach 235 F on a candy thermometer (about 6 minutes).
    7. Adjust the speed of your mixer, with the egg whites in it, to medium speed and continue to whip the egg whites until they reach soft peaks.
    8. Once the syrup has reached 235 F, remove from the stove, and, with the mixer running at a medium speed, slowly add the cooked syrup in a thin stream to the egg whites until all the syrup is incorporated.
    9. Continue to mix the egg whites on a low speed until they become stiff and glossy and the bottom of the mixing bowl is room temperature. (When you add the syrup to the mixing bowl, the bowl will become hot. Keep whipping the egg whites on a low speed until the bowl has cooled back down to room temperature, about 10 minutes.)
    10. Once cooled, remove the meringue from the bowl using a rubber spatula and use accordingly.

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