Basic Italian Meringue
There is not much else you can do to get a better meringue than this beautiful and fluffy italian meringue. It is actually surprisingly easy to make at home and you only need a little patience and a pinch of confidence. Don’t worry, it will work out and you will be so happy you have attempted this wonderful italian meringue because there is no going back after that. I use it as my go to meringue for pavlova, italian meringue buttercream, macarons and all other piping needs.
If you are pregnant, though the egg whites are technically heated above 70C through the addition of the sugar syrup I would still exercise caution and also ensure that you have used eggs which are safe to consume. There is such a thing as pasteurised eggs and in the UK the eggs with a lion symbol are the ones the NHS considers safe to consume in pregnancy.
- 120 g water
- 200 g caster sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 Tbsp caster sugar
- If you have time, the night before crack the eggs and store the egg whites in the fridge until the next day. This will make the egg whites ‘old’ and can help with getting a stiffer mixture. It is not necessary though so if you are reading this whilst wanting to prepare meringue right now, just skip this step.
- Place the water and caster sugar in a small saucepan. Set aside.
- Insert the butterfly whisk attachment into the mixing bowl. Add the egg whites and cream of tartar.
- This is where the fun begins. It is all about a little preparation and timing in this recipe. You are basically cooking a sugar syrup and beating egg whites. Then you are combining the cooked sugar syrup with the beaten eggs.
- Start by heating the saucepan on the highest heat, do not at any point stir the sugar syrup, simply leave it alone. I suggest using a temperature pen that shows you the accurate temperature. When the syrup reaches 100C, that would roughly be about 3-4 minutes (i.e. when it is boiling), you can start the Thermomix.
- Set it to whisk 20 Min. / 37C / Speed 3.5 / no measuring cup. After 2 minutes, slowly add in the caster sugar into the mixing bowl a teaspoon at a time. It will just help stiffen the eggs.
- Once your sugar syrup reaches 118C remove it from the heat. This could be by about 5-8 minutes. It is hard to say an accurate timeframe without the thermometer but I found that on a conventional hob it took 6 minutes whereas on my gas hob it took 8 minutes. You will notice the consistency will change considerably from boiling water to a thick, syrupy almost like glucose consistency and the bubbles will totally change into a much more dense and small shape. It will almost look like they are struggling to form and burst. The sounds become more sizzling rather than bubbling and boiling.
- Turn off the temperature on the Thermomix at this stage and but keep the mixing bowl running. Pour the sugar syrup super slowly through the lid opening into the egg white mixture. The stream should be super thin, almost drop like. After 3 minutes, all the syrup should be poured in and you need to reduce the Speed to 3. Pause the Thermomix and scrape the meringue slightly, there might be the odd air pocket. Resume and keep whisking it for the remaining time whilst trying to help it cool. I use an ice pack or frozen peas and hold it against the outside mixing bowl. It really helps speed up the process.
Tips for the perfect Meringue
Make sure to wash you bowl with soapy water and clean thoroughly. Afterwards, take a little white vinegar on a piece of kitchen towel and wipe the entire bowl.
For stiffer egg whites, crack the eggs into a bowl the evening before and leave them overnight in the fridge. This will make the eggs ‘old’ and creates a stiffer meringue.
I also add cream of tartar to my egg whites to make a stiffer and creamier meringue.
When it comes to Italian meringue it is all about timing and temperature. I prepare all ingredients and my workstation ahead. I have the sugar and water ready in the saucepan. I have the egg whites ready in the mixing bowl along with the inserted butterfly whisk attachment. I have the cream of tartar and the caster sugar ready and a spatula at hand. The timing is key. You start boiling the sugar syrup first and once it reaches 100C you switch on the Thermomix to make the meringue. If you don’t have a thermometer to control exactly what temperature you are getting to, you can work with timings. I worked out that for this recipe, the time it takes to go to 100C is roughly 3-4 minutes. To reach 118C it will take a further 3-5 minutes. Key here is that these timings are a guideline only and you will need your eyes to check how the syrup changes consistency if you don’t have a thermometer. Check out my guidelines in the method.
If you want to change quantities, you can do that very simply. I would not go below 3 egg whites as a basis though and make sure to adjust the cooking time for the sugar syrup. The syrup will cook much faster when it is less liquid. 5 eggs is the maximum I would recommend and again timings will increase there.
To allow for the perfect consistency, make sure to add the sugar syrup in the thinnest stream possible to the egg whites so that you don’t accidentally melt them. If you ever think you are going a little too fast, simply take a 20 second break before continuing to pour more sugar syrup into the mixing bowl. It should take roughly 3-4 minutes to add all the syrup to the egg whites.
To help cooling down the meringue, simply use frozen peas or an ice pack to wrap around the outer wall of the mixing bowl for the remaining mixing time so that the mixture can cool down quickly. Once the mixing time is up, simply put the meringue in the fridge for 30 minutes before you can continue using it. This is especially important for making Italian meringue buttercream.
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