Know your meringue

Meringue is a cornerstone of baking. Make sure you know your meringue basics so you can ace those bakes!


Fresh Living top tips 

Before you get out the whisk, consider the following.

  • Weather: Don’t make meringues on a rainy day – the sugar in meringue draws
    moisture and you’ll be left with a soggy mess.
  • Equipment: Make sure your equipment and utensils are grease-free and that egg
    whites are free from yolk – this can prevent egg whites from firming up when
  • Storage: Always store meringues in an airtight container as they go soggy easily.

Types of meringue

  1. French meringue is made by whipping egg whites and castor sugar together. It’s the
    ‘average Joe’ of meringue, great for meringue kisses and pie toppings. It’s
    ‘uncooked’ as the eggs only cook once baked in the oven.
  2. Swiss meringue is made by whisking egg whites and sugar over a hot water bath
    before whipping into stiff peaks, making it the perfect topping if you don’t feel like
    baking meringue – it’s technically cooked.
  3. Italian meringue is the most stable of the three and is made by whisking a thin
    stream of hot sugar syrup into whipped egg whites. Perfect for mousse or parfait.

Stages of meringue

Whipping meringue is serious business! It’s essential to know about these two stages before
embarking on any meringue recipe.

  • Stiff peak: Also known as “firm peak”, here the mixture is firm and holds its shape.
    To test this, lift your whisk to create a ‘peak’, which should hold its shape even after
    a few seconds. (Take care not to overwhip as it may cause the mixture to split. Stop
    when you reach stiff peak stage.)
  • Soft peak: This refers to the stage of beating egg whites when the mixture is just
    starting to hold its shape. To test this, lift your whisk to create a ‘peak’, which should
    form a point that slowly loses its shape after a few seconds.

Did you know?

Aquafaba is the viscous liquid from a can of chickpeas which – magically – has a similar
consistency and behaves much the same as egg whites in baking. Keep in mind that 2 Tbsp
(30ml) chickpea liquid is equivalent to 1 egg white, so you can use this ratio when
converting meringue recipes to vegan.

Meringue is a thing of velvet beauty, so go on and master it now that you have the know-


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