Part 2- Italian Meringue

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on April 10, 2010

Italian meringue is not difficult to make, once you get the hang of it. The hardest part is getting over the fear of making the syrup and pouring it into the whites…and not the actual process itself. Italian meringue can be used on top of pies, tarts, cakes and baked alaska, but remember, you can’t pipe this out into shapes and then bake it…it will be too hard to eat. When made correctly, it is light and airy but with some body to it. It actually reminds you of marshmallow fluff! So, if the kids want a quick treat, you can make them some of this with fresh fruit, or serve it on bread with peanut butter or nutella. It is really very easy!

I am going to use the Italian meringue recipe in Bo Friberg’s book that I referenced in my last post. His recipe appears on page 27 and is quite large, so I cut it back for you. It is…

1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 whites)

3 oz corn syrup (about 1/4 cup prevents crystallization)

6 oz granulated sugar (about 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup water

***This recipe is used to make European Buttercream. Once the meringue has cooled, add 2 sticks of butter that has been softened at room temperature and then add and flavor you may like. For vanilla buttercream, add 1 tablespoon of a good quality extractor 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste. For chocolate buttercream, add 4 ounces of melted dark chocolate after you have added the butter.

First measure out the sugar, corn syrup and water and put into a small pot and start cooking on a medium-high heat until it reaches softball stage (240°F) on a candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, separate the whites and put them into a clean and dry bowl with a pinch of salt and start whipping. Once you start whipping, don’t stop the machine…you can slow it down, but don’t stop altogether. If you stop beating the whites after you have started, the whites will go back into their previous state and puddle and the bottom of the bowl. When the syrup has cooked, turn the speed of the mixer on high, and carefully pour the sugar SLOWLY into the whites along the inside edge of the bowl. Be careful not to pour it onto the moving whip or you will soon be wearing hot syrup…definitely not fun. If you pour the sugar into the whites too fast, the whites will cook, and you will have pieces of cooked egg white in your meringue. The pouring process looks like this…

Once you have poured all of the syrup into the whites,  just let the mixer do all the work. Let it continue to whip on high speed until the whites have cooled down (touch the outside of the bowl) and have doubled in volume and appear glossy. You must use them right away, or they start getting stiffer and difficult to spread. I applied them onto the outside of a roulade and then flamed it (picture appears above). This is a great idea if you are entertaining during the Holidays. You can decorate it with marzipan flowers or meringue mushrooms to jazz it up. I then dusted it with a little cocoa powder, but you can use powdered sugar if you prefer.

Swiss meringue in our next post…

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