Different Types of Meringue
A simple uncooked meringue is made by beating egg whites, and adding in sugar until very stiff, shiny peaks form. Due to concerns about possible bacteria in raw eggs, powdered egg whites or pasteurized eggs found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store are recommended.
Italian and Swiss meringues are cooked. French meringue is baked.
Italian meringue is made by slowly beating hot sugar syrup into stiffly beaten egg whites and is used in frostings and atop pies and cakes.
Swiss meringue is made by dissolving sugar and egg whites together over simmering water and then beating in an electric mixer. It is often used as a base for buttercream frostings.
French meringue is made by gradually adding ultrafine sugar to whipped uncooked egg whites until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. The meringue is then piped into shapes and baked. It has a light, crisp texture and is often used as a “nest” to hold fruit or sorbets.
Sweet Fact: You need at least 1-1/2 tablespoons of sugar per egg white to get a stable meringue.
Sweet Fact: French (hard) meringue = 4 tablespoons of sugar per egg white.
Sweet Fact: Italian (soft) meringue = 2 tablespoons of sugar per egg white.
Add a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in heated water to whipped egg whites for a hard meringue that cuts smoothly.