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4 answers 9441 views
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Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 6 years ago

Is this for pie or for cookies?

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 6 years ago

I don't claim to know about perfect, but I use 3 bowls to separate out my egg whites--one for the white, one for the yolk, and then I move the white to the mixing bowl. That way if I break the yolk, I've only lost one egg. I also beat the whites with a pinch of salt in a stand mixer with a whisk, which helps them beat up quickly and hold together well.

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Shuna Lydon

Shuna is a pastry chef in New York City and author of the acclaimed blog Eggbeater.

added over 6 years ago

There are 3 types of meringue: French, Swiss & Italian. They go from the least stable/strong to the most stable/strong. Depending on what you need meringue for will determine what kind you embark on.

The most important rules of meringue are these:
*everything whites touch must be superclean. you can whisk whites in glass, porcelain or metal, but not plastic or rubber.
*flavorings you add to meringue must be added once meringue has become itself. if you add something to the egg whites before voluminousness has been reached, you will not reach much of anything.
*your eggs should be fresh, preferably from young chickens.
*egg whites can quintuple in size so make sure you're not overfilling your whisking vessel.
*room temperature egg whites are the best egg whites for meringue. you may separate eggs days before you need to make meringue. egg yolks will keep 4 days refrigerated, egg whites will keep up to 1 week unrefrigerated. remember that raw egg whites are not suitable for consumption, especially for very old, very young or people with suppressed/compromised immune systems.
*7x or "Superfine" sugar is best for French meringue.
*you may use light or dark brown sugar to make Swiss or Italian but not French meringue. Raw or Turbinado or Demerara sugars are close to impossible to make work with meringues.
*If you're using a stand mixer to make French or Swiss meringue: increase speed incrementally. You will get more volume this way than if you turn it full throttle at the onset.
*Practice Practice Practice. Meringue comes out perfect when you do it over and over. Be not afraid of failure! Sometimes the most imperfect meringue can make the best tasting dessert-on-the-fly.

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