How to Make Meringue
Light and heavenly, meringue is little more than egg whites and sugar, whipped into clouds of pure delight and gently baked. Billows of it can be used to top a pie, but it’s equally wonderful on its own, too, piped into cookies, kisses, cakes, and nests for fresh fruit.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 egg whites at room temperature (they whip faster)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
To prepare a basic meringue, separate the egg whites and place in a very clean glass or metal bowl (plastic bowls can have a greasy film that prevents foaming). Try to separate the eggs without leaving even a trace of yolk in the whites as the fat in the yolk can prevent the whites from developing the volume you want.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring sugar and water to boil and cook until mixture is slightly thickened and syrupy, about 3 to 4 minutes (235 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
In a standing mixer fit with the whisk, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt together on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.
Increase mixer speed to medium-high and whip until whites are shiny and soft peaks form, about 1 to 3 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to medium and slowly drizzle warm syrup (avoid the whisk attachment and sides of bowl). Add vanilla, increase speed to medium-high, and whip until mixture has cooled slightly and is very thick and shiny, about 3 to 6 minutes.
Pile the meringue onto your warm dessert and bake 425 degrees (218 degrees Celsius) for about 4 to 5 minutes - just enough to gently brown the peaks.
For a hard meringue such as kisses, you'll need to double the recipe above. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff, glossy peaks. As a final step, add food coloring if desired
Then preheat your oven to 275˚ F (135°C). Pipe or dollop the egg whites onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake until firm- about 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack before serving.
Store cooled meringues in an airtight container for 1 week or wrap well and freeze up to 1 month.