The word meringue can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Or you see a great recipe that you want to try and come to find out it has egg whites and sugar whipped together ever so gently into a light fluffy mixture and you turn the page.
Well, we wanted to take some time out of our cupcaking day to show you how we make an easy meringue frosting. It’s a show stopper for sure, put this on any cake add some torch to it and watch out, you’re all the suddenly AMAZING.
First things first- know your meringues
- French meringue is the method best known to you fine and clever home cooks. Fine white sugar is beaten into egg whites.
- Italian meringue is made with boiling hot lava sugar syrup, not to be taken lightly. This leads to a much more stable soft meringue which can be used in various pastries without collapsing. In an Italian meringue, a hot sugar syrup is whipped into softly whipped egg whites till stiff. This type of meringue is safe to use without cooking. It will not deflate for a long while and can be either used on pies and Baked Alaska, or spread on a sheet and baked for meringues.
- Swiss meringue is whisked over a bain-marie to warm the egg whites, and then whisked steadily until it cools. This forms a dense, glossy marshmallow-like meringue.
We chose to be SWISS! It’s easy, quick, stable and not so fussy as it’s Italian or French counter parts.
Ratios are so super duper important in baking once you know your ratios you can rock any recipe, create any recipe and soon baking isn’t so scientific. The book we’ve been reading for years is Michael Ruhlman Ratio http://ruhlman.com/2009/04/ratio-the-simpl/.
First we start out with 1 part fresh egg white and 2 parts clean granulated sugar.
What do you mean by clean sugar? Think of Meringue as a grumpy 90 year old person who does not do well with others, change or interruption to their life. Egg whites are mostly protein, that is why you can incorporate so much air. The protein helps trap air to create air bubbles. Sugar that is contaminated with flour, fat or any other items can cause the eggs to not whip- it can disturb the proteins that are trying to trap your air to give you light fluffy meringue . So we have a tub of sugar that is only for making caramels, brittles and meringues, it’s clean and un-contaminated.
Ok so lets do the math for our perfect ratio- 1/4 cup egg white to 1/2 cup sugar. 1 cup fresh egg white to 2 cups sugar. Look at you, you got this!
We use the same bowl (our kitchen bowl) and whisk that we plan on using to whip the eggs whites. Why? Well, we don’t like to do dishes so if we can get away with using the same vessels we will.
Combine the egg whites + sugar in the mixing bowl and stir with whisk 0ver a bain-marie or double boiler.
We stir the eggs white and sugar together over light heat to completely dissolve the sugar. The key is to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved, if not you risk grainy and crunch meringue. The best way we’ve found is to use your fingertips, dip them into you egg white mixture and rub them together. When the sugar is all dissolved you will not feel any grains of sugar.
Once all the sugar is dissolved place on the mixer and whip until cool and hold very stiff, glossy peaks.
Once you have glossy, stiff peaks you give yourself a huge pat on the back!
We get our swirl on, but you can place this in a piping bag and decorate the heck out of some cupcakes!
The last step, and the funnest step is using a torch to brown the perfect meringue you just made- don’t be shy show it who’s boss!
All in all this took about 10 minutes from beginning to end. Hopefully this helps you create beautiful desserts!