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Meringue

Crispy and sweet meringue is a favorite dainty for many people. Baked meringues are often used as a decorating element for cakes. Creams and biscuits are made on the basis of meringue - it is quite widely used in confectionery.

The invention of meringue is attributed to the confectioner from Meiringen, the town in Switzerland in about 1720s, hence the name.

When adding sugar, the egg whites turns from the fluffy foam into a firm, glossy mass. The more sugar we add during beating the eggs, the more crunchy the meringue will become after baking. The egg white and sugar proportion is 1: 1.5 -to 2. That is, conditionally, we add 150-200 grams of sugar to 100 grams of egg white. If we add sugar at the beginning of whipping, we get a firm meringue. If we make foam of the egg whites and add sugar gradually, the meringue will be  lighter. 

To prepare the meringue, it is advisable to separate the egg whites and yolk until the eggs are cold, and leave the egg whites in a sealed container to warm it up to a room temperature.

There are two methods of preparing meringue - raw and cooked.

The raw method is used for preparing French meringue, which is the simplest and most common method and has a variety of textures. Its light version is as follows: the egg whites are beaten until foamy and then the sugar is mixed with the help of a spatula, used to decorate cakes and sweet pies, it has a rather fluffy mass and cannot maintain its shape, it is baked with cakes.

To get a more solid French meringue, which is used for making solid forms with a pastry bag or spoon, you need more whipping after adding sugar. The longer you whip, the more firm the mass is. Bake at a low temperature of 90-100 degrees.

Two types of meringues are made by the cooked method - Italian and Swiss.

To prepare the Italian meringue, a syrup (sugar and water) heated up to 120 degrees is poured over the whipped egg white. Whip until the mass is cooled up and becomes glossy. As a result we get a fluffy but firm meringue that is used in confectionery (creams) or for decoction.

To prepare the Swiss meringue, the egg white, acid and sugar are heated on a steam bath to 75-78 degrees and cooled until the mass gets firm and cold. Egg whites prepared by this method are pasteurized and safe for health. Store in the refrigerator for several days. Ideal for decoration.