If you’ve not made meringue because it looks intimidating, a few pointers will help you achieve success. Although making meringue may appear to be something of a magic act, it’s not so much magic, as it is science. Even a speck of egg yolk mixed into the white of an egg will prevent it from whipping property, so it’s best to separate eggs one at a time by first placing them in a small dish before adding them to the main mixing bowl. Also, keep in mind eggs will separate easier when they are cold, but will attain their greatest volume when whipped at room temperature. In addition, be sure all your mixing utensils are free of grease; grease and oil will keep egg whites from whipping properly.
You’ll also want to pay careful attention to your recipe. Egg whites and cream of tartar need to be beaten to soft peaks before the sugar – just a tablespoon at a time – is incorporated into the mixture. Adding the sugar slowly not only helps the sugar to dissolve, but also improves the likelihood of producing a billowy, fluffy meringue. Lastly, keep an eye on the weather. Meringues like dry, humidity-free days. Too much moisture in the air makes for sticky meringue. While delicious in their simplicity, don’t hesitate to work your own kind of magic with meringue. Meringue may be tinted with food coloring, flavored with things like nuts and chocolate, the zest of a lemon, lime or orange, or a bit of ground cinnamon or expresso powder.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.