Making Your Own MeringuesHome >> Recipes
With the quantity of ice creams I make, there are always redundant egg whites in my fridge. What to do with them? The most obvious answer is meringue - this delicious, crispy sweet egg white foam. But their reputation for difficulty place meringues outside what most home chefs will try. And yet, if you follow to the letter simple instructions, they just can't fail.
The secret to a successful meringue is to foam the egg whites real stiff. How do you achieve that? Egg white foam is a miraculous pile of air bubbles trapped in the thinnest egg white membrane. A house of cards, really. There are some forces who see this as against nature and will trill to unravel the foam. For your foam to withstand their attacks, the strictest obedience to some rules is needed.
If you want to understand why this works, read the invaluable On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen one of the best cookery books there is.
Filter perfectly clean egg whites a few days old and weight the filtered eggs. In a separate bowl, measure double the egg weight in sugar. You can use granulated sugar or half confectioner's sugar and half regular granulated sugar.
Rub the lemon all over a perfectly clean bowl. The lemon will impart a very slight and pleasant lemony flavor to the meringue.
Pour the filtered whites in the bowl and beat to a stiff foam. Only when your foam is stiff and not before, gradually mix in the sugar while continuing to mix. The sugar will draw some of the moisture out and stiffen your foam. Add the vanilla extract if using.