Since I’ve done a post regarding differ types of meringues, and how to incorporate Swiss meringue into buttercream, I decided to do a post about the classic French meringue. This is the most basic type of meringue and really easy to master.
French meringue is the most common method which use a “cold preparation”. You don’t have to heat your sugar to any particular temperature or use any Bain Marie like the Italian or Swiss meringue. French meringue can be used for cakes, soufflés, macaron or just as it is! It gives your macaron a light airy texture and helps to aerate cakes like chiffon or angel cake. However, they are very unstable and it might give you a grainy texture due to large sugar granules still present in the meringue.
Here are some tips and observations that I have taken note when making French meringue:
- To prevent a grainy meringue, make sure to use caster sugar or superfine sugar. Because the sugar granules are smaller, it’s easier for them to melt and incorporate into the whites.
- Before adding the sugar, make sure you have whisked your egg whites to foamy soft peak. This is important. A lot of recipes says to add sugar once your whites have foam up, but it’s not enough. Remember this is a very unstable meringue. It has to build some structure first, hence a soft peak would be a safer bet. This helps to ensure that your egg whites doesn’t lose any of its strength when you start adding sugar.
- Add your sugar in several inclusions. I usually do 3-5 inclusions rather than adding it constantly in one go. This is to ensure your sugar has been incorporated evenly and it also help to prevent a grainy texture.
- Make sure your meringue has fully reached a stiff peak before using it. You have to be patient. If it doesn’t reach stiff peak, the meringue will collapse and crack during the baking process, or it may weep after cooking.
- To help stabilize the meringue, you can add cream of tartar or lemon juice. The acid can help to strengthen the egg whites, and it prevents meringue from losing its consistency.
- When baking the meringue, make sure it’s a low temperature-usually in the range of 90-110 Degree Celsius. This helps to dry them out without the risk of burning or overbaking. It should be ready when you can easily peel them off the parchment paper. If temperatures are too high, the meringue will start cracking at the top.
- For storage, it is best to store them in an airtight container away from direct heat. This helps to keep them crunchy and light.
French Meringue Kisses
300g caster sugar
150g egg whites
1.5g cream of tartar
- Add egg whites and cream of tartar together in a mixing bowl. Start whisking on medium speed until egg whites have reached a soft peak.
- Reduce to low speed and start adding sugar in 3-5 inclusions. Once all of the sugar has been added, turn up to high and whisk to stiff peak. The meringue should start turning glossy and white. Add any desired coloring.
- Pipe meringue onto a parchment paper and bake for 40-50 mins at 100 Degrees Celsius. Let it cool completely before storing them in an air tight container.