Two ingredients is all it takes to create wispy, pillow-like clouds for your sweet dreams. Egg whites + sugar = meringue. So easy to make yet elegant and colorful wispy treats that make it seem like you spent hours slaving in your kitchen.
There are three variations of meringue: French, Swiss, and Italian. French meringue is sugar added to egg whites. Swiss meringue is using a Bain Marie to warm up egg whites before whipping them up. Italian meringue boiling the sugar into a syrup. All three produce amazing results.
Meringue can be a little intimidating, especially if you’ve never made it before. Like French macarons, meringues can be finicky. Egg whites and sugar are hygroscopic. This means that they are water attracting. Changes in temperature or humidity can make things difficult In addition, you need to know the difference between the different peaks is that thing that makes it tough. There’s no peak or foamy, where the eggs are opaque and liquid. Then there’s soft peak, where the egg whites begin to hold their shape but still soft. Firm peak is next, which is where the peak will hold for longer but turn back into itself. Finally, there’s stiff peak, where it holds its shape.
The agitation and beating when you whip the egg whites denatures or breaks down the protein in them. These cookies are whipped to stiff peaks before being piped onto a sheet pan into whatever shape your heart desires. They’re baked on low heat for an hour to an hour and a half or longer. Then, you can leave them out overnight. You can’t rush it. I promise, your patience will be rewarded. The baking process is so long because you want to dry out the outside while keeping the inside slightly moist. The resulting cookie is like a puff of air when you eat it.
I love meringues because it allows for your creative juices to flow not just with regard to the shape of them, but to their flavor as well. In addition, meringue is used in desserts like baked Alaska and, my favorite, lemon meringue pie.
Here’s the recipe: Rosewater-pistachio Meringue Cookies (by Naseem)
100 grams egg whites
160 grams confectioners sugar, sifted
2 grams rosewater
10 grams chopped pistachios
Pink food coloring
- Preheat oven to 225 F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy.
- Gradually add sugar, a little at a time. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat until firm peaks form.
- Add color and flavoring.
- Continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
- Carefully place meringue in a piping bag fitted with a pastry tip.
- Pipe into desired shape.
- Sprinkle chopped pistachios.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Meringues should be dry on the outside and lift up off the parchment easily.