French, Italian or Swiss... There are three basic kinds of meringues with different recipes for very different uses.
So what's the difference between French, Italian and Swiss meringues? How do you prepare them? And, which one should you use depending on which dessert you're making? We explain all below.
1. French Meringue
What is French Meringue?
French meringue is the most classic and the simplest of the three meringues to make. It's crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
How to make French meringue
You will need egg whites and sugar (and in some cases, icing sugar). In general, double the weight of sugar is used in relation to the weight of whites. For example, if you use 100 g of egg whites, you will need 200 g of sugar. To prepare the meringue:
- Whisk the whites until they form soft peaks.
- Gradually adding the sugar while continuing to whip until the mix becomes soft, airy, and light.Spoon or pipe the meringue into your preferred shape, depending on the recipe.
- Pipe small meringues using a piping bag to decorate a tart.
- Form dumpling-shaped meringues with a spoon or even disk-shaped for planting in an ice cream cup or pastry.
- Form them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake them at low temperature (around 90 ° C) and rotating heat for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the meringues. The meringues are cooked when they are easily peeled off the baking paper.
Uses for French Meringue
French meringue is an excellent base for French vacherin or pavlova and British, Eton mess or lightly poached they can also make îles flottantes, topping a bowl of crème anglaise.
Storage of French Meringue
French meringue can be kept for several days or weeks in an airtight container stored in the dry at room temperature.
2. Swiss Meringue
What is Swiss Meringue?
The recipe for Swiss meringue is slightly different since it consists of egg whites "cooked" by a sugary syrup whipped in a bain-marie. As a result, the Swiss meringue has much less volume than the French meringue but is smoother and silkier and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
How to make Swiss Meringue
To make Swiss meringue, you will need 90 g of egg whites for 150 g of icing sugar.
- Beat the whites and sugar in a bowl in a bain-marie up to 55/60 °C.
- Remove them from the water bath and continue beating until the mixture has cooled.
- Pipe using a piping bag to make small "mushrooms" or fluted casings for rosé-shaped meringues.
- Bake at 100°C for 30 minutes for smaller pieces.
Uses for Swiss Meringue
The large meringues found in the baker are usually Swiss meringues. Swiss meringue is also used as a decoration for Christmas logs.
Storage of Swiss Meringue
Swiss meringue can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours without weeping.
3. Italian Meringue
What is Italian Meringue?
The Italian meringue is the most stable and dense of the three meringues with a satiny texture, popular as a cake or pie topping.
How to do you make Italian Meringue?
Italian meringue consists of a sugar syrup heated between 110 and 120 ° C drizzled into whipped egg whites. For success with this one, you will need a thermoprobe.
In general, Italian meringues call for 30 to 50 gr of sugar per egg white.
Here are the steps:
- Heat sugar and water to between 110 and 120 ° C. Use the thermoprobe (candy thermometer) to determine when it has reached this point.
- Whisk egg whites and lemon juice with a mixer until soft peaks form.
- Slowly drizzle in hot syrup while mixer is still running.
- Increase speed and whip until the desired texture is achieved.
Uses for Italian Meringue
Italian meringue is used for many more complex recipes such as macaroons, desserts, Norwegian omelettes, mousses or soufflés glacés.
It's also popular on top of lemon meringue pies, when the meringue can be coloured with a grill or with a blowtorch.
How to store Italian Meringue
Italian meringue needs to be completely cool before it is stored in the refrigerator. It should also be covered by plastic wrap or sealed in some other way to be stored. Italian meringue can last for up to two days in the refrigerator.