Does meringue have to be baked?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does meringue have to be baked” with an in-depth analysis of meringue that needs to be baked. Moreover, we are going to discuss the types of meringue, why meringue recipes need cream of tartar (acid), and how we can make our meringue successfully. 

Meringue is egg-whites whipped with sugar. The crucial role that air plays is that when air is whipped into egg-whites it increases its volume.  

So if you are going to make a meringue and are worried about what it takes to make a meringue then, you need not worry as we are going to answer all your worries or questions.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does meringue have to be baked?

To answer this question we need to know different types of meringue as some types of meringue are required to be baked while others don’t. There are three types of meringue-based on the ratio of sugar added to egg-whites or whether heat is involved or not. 

The first type of meringue is French meringue which is baked, is hard and dry. The second type of meringue is Italian meringue which is cooked and is soft as well. The third type of meringue is Swiss meringue which is also cooked and is soft as well.

French meringue

French meringue is known for its crisp, airy foam that we get after baking it. French meringue is egg-whites beaten with sugar and a stabilizing specialist (cream of tartar), which is then given the ideal shape and baked at low temperature, and delayed on the stove until the meringue dries out. This sort of meringue is the most unstable and ought to be utilized soon after being whipped. 

We use such types of hard and dry meringue to make cookies by baking and can give unique or decorative shapes as well. Baking makes its texture crispy but keep in mind that it is not browned when cooking is done. We need to bake them at a slow temperature as it will help the meringue to get into a stable shape.

You can read more about french meringue here.

Italian meringue

Italian meringue does not need to bake as eggs already get cooked by hot syrup. Italian meringue is known for its softness. In Italian meringue, the sugar is cooked as syrup with water and after that, we add egg-whites. Cooking sugar first and then added to the whipped egg-whites helps to make it soft. Italian meringue is more stable than French meringue and does not require any additional cooking. Water and sugar are boiled to get syrup and are added to egg-whites as they are being whipped. After adding all the syrup we need to stir it until we get stiff peaks. Adding butter will increase its flavor and it turns into an Italian buttercream icing for cakes. 

Swiss meringue 

Swiss meringue is a bit different from Italian meringue as sugar is heated in swiss meringue but without using water. In swiss meringue sugar and egg-whites, both are cooked together gently. Swiss meringue utilizes a delicately warmed combination of egg-whites and sugar, however, no water is included and the combination of whites and eggs gets warmed on the burner. When the sugar gets dissolved, the meringue has then been removed from the warmth and whipped to solid, polished pinnacles. 

We can use swiss meringue as topping or it can be turned in buttercream as we did in Italian meringue. As it is similar to Italian meringue we do not need to bake it further so that customers can feel the softness, lightness, and fluffiness instead of crunchy meringue (French meringue).

Other FAQs about Meringue which you may be interested in.

Can you make meringue without sugar?

How to store meringue for pavlova?

Why does my meringue collapse?

Why do meringue recipes need cream of tartar?

Adding an acidic component to whipped egg-whites helps them to get stable, and this is the reason numerous recipes call for cream of tartar, lemon squeeze, or distilled white vinegar, or any kind of acid.

Things that help meringue to be made successfully

Beat eggs in a glass or a copper bowl. Do not use plastic, since plastic is normally permeable and can some of the time contain hints of the buildup of fat. Your bowl and whatever other gear that comes into contact with the egg-whites ought to be spotless, dry, and liberated from oil, which can meddle with the proteins in the whites and keep the whites from foaming. Be extremely cautious that your egg whites are liberated from any pieces of egg yolk. 

This can likewise prevent your egg-whites from foaming and holding their shape. When utilizing an electric blender, do not overbeat. Include your sugar gradually to ensure it gets dissolved. Finally, cool eggs are simpler to isolate, yet room-temperature egg whites prepare quicker. If you recollect and have time, separate your eggs while still cold from the refrigerator, however then let them lay on the counter to warm to room temperature before whipping.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “does meringue have to be baked” with an in-depth analysis of whether meringue has to be baked or not. Moreover, we discussed why an acidic material like cream of tartar or vinegar is required. We also discussed things that help our meringue to get better.

Citations

https://www.thekitchn.com/baking-school-day-4-meringue-222482

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.