Conquer the Italian meringue and you’ll be set for making loads of stuff, like Italian meringue macarons, lemon meringue pies, buttercream, mousse …
And it’s pretty straightforward. Once you know how to do it, you won’t even have to look at instructions again (hurray!). It does help to have a stand or electric mixer but up to last year I was making it all with a hand whisk and it is possible!
So have a go and if it’s any help there’s some meringue music for you to listen to at the bottom of the page! 🙂
According to your recipe OR 200g granulated sugar, 50ml (50g) water and 2 egg whites (75g)
- small heavy-based saucepan
- sugar thermometre (the probe type is handy for small quantities)
- hand whisk
- stand mixer or electric whisk (or with a hand whisk and strong arm)
- Weigh the egg whites in the big stand mixer bowl and start whisking the egg whites (or start whisking the egg whites by hand in a big bowl).
- Put the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy-based saucepan on low heat. Stir with a silicone spoon to make sure the sugar dissolves completely then raise heat to medium-high. Once the sugar has dissolved and it starts boiling you need to STOP STIRRING! (if you don’t and the sugar hardens or crystalises, you’ll need to start again. Don’t worry, this happens to everyone in their patisserie life).
- When the sugar starts boiling, put the sugar thermometre in the saucepan and keep a check on the temperature (you want it at 118°C).
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed till they are almost firm. Get the bowl off the stand mixer if using one and have a hand whisk ready.
- When the sugar has reached 116°C refresh the egg whites by whisking by hand a few seconds.
- When the sugar reaches 118°C, quickly take off the heat and pour the syrup in a steady stream into the middle of the egg whites with one hand whilst simultaneously whisking the syrup into the whites with the other hand, to make a smooth glossy meringue. Make sure you collect any spattering syrup off the walls of the bowl and that you combine everything quickly and well. If there is a little syrup left at the bottom of the saucepan don’t scrape out – just leave it. Here’s a video of me doing all this. You will see and hear the frenetic activity of a whisk, and when it’s over there’s a sound that’s a cross between a pathetic whimper and sigh of relief!:
So if you don’t want to be whimpering like me, get someone else to pour the syrup for you or do the whole operation on a stand mixer using the spatter shield (by the way, my syrup is brownish because I used unrefined golden caster sugar).
- Put the stand mixer on low-medium speed and whisk till the mixture cools down and the bowl isn’t warm to touch (note: a chef on a course revealed the secret to a nice meringue is whisking for a longer time on a lower speed, then at the end you can whisk on a higher speed a few seconds to finish off). If you’re doing it by hand then whisk till cool and firm. Your mixture should have peaks and if you turn your bowl upside down nothing should fall out (hopefully). Tada! Your Italian meringue is ready! (three cheers and take a minute to wipe your sweating brow). Be proud and happy.
If you want a hand and electric whisk method:
(Watch the last few seconds for the hook and upside-down bowl test)
Making Italian meringue is fun (huh?) and it’s fashionable to have music to suit your activity, so you could listen to some classic meringue, sorry, merengue tunes. Shuffle an’ whisk to the beat. 🙂