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For the Dominican folk dance and music, see merengue. Meringue in Meiringen, Switzerland

Meringue (pronounced /məˈræŋ/[1]) is a type of dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar. Some meringue recipes call for adding a binding agent such as cream of tartar or the cornstarch found in


The notion that meringue was invented in the Swiss town of Meiringen[2] by an Italian chef named Gasparini is contested. It is more certain that the name meringue for this confection first appeared in print in François Massialot's cookbook of 1692.[3] The word meringue first appeared in English in 1706 in an English translation of Massialot's book. Two considerably earlier seventeenth-century English manuscript books of recipes give instructions for confections that are recognizable as meringue, though called ``white biskit bread`` in the book of recipes started in 1604 by Lady Elinor Fettiplace (c. 1570 - c. 1647) of Appleton in Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire),[4] or called ``pets`` in the manuscript of collected recipes written by Lady Rachel Fane (1612/13 - 1680), of Knole, Kent.[5]

Type of meringue

There are several types of meringue, the sweetened, uncooked beaten egg whites that form the ``islands`` of Floating Island, the partly cooked toppings of Lemon meringue pie and other meringue-topped desserts, and the classic dry featherweight meringue. Several techniques produce these results: that used by most home cooks is known as a 'French meringue', and is described below. An 'Italian meringue' is made with boiling sugar syrup, instead of caster sugar. This leads to a much more stable soft meringue which can be used in various pastries without collapsing. A 'Swiss meringue' is whisked over a bain marie to warm the egg whites, and then whisked steadily until it cools. It is then baked. This recipe is often used for Pavlova bases.

When egg whites are beaten, some of the hydrogen bonds in the protein break, causing the protein's structure to unfold. This change in structure leads to the stiff consistency required for meringues.

Typically, two whipped egg whites and 113 grams (4.0 oz) of caster sugar are what compose a single batch cooked meringue.

When beating egg whites, they are classified in three stages according to the peaks they form when the beater is lifted: soft, firm, and stiff peaks.

In an Italian meringue, a hot sugar syrup is whipped into softly whipped egg whites till stiff. This type of meringue is safe to use without cooking. It will not deflate for a long while and can be either used on pies and Baked Alaska, or spread on a sheet and baked for meringues.

Meringues used like cookies are baked at a very low heat for a long time. One name for them is ``Forgotten Cookies``[6] as they can be left in a gas oven for long periods of time after the cooking is done. They are not supposed to be ``tanned`` at all, but they need to be very crisp and dry. Cooked meringue cannot be refrigerated or it will become soggy. They will keep for at least a week if stored in an airtight container.

Meringue can be used as the basis for various other desserts including angel food cake, pavlova, Baked Alaska, Queen of Puddings, Key lime pie, and lemon meringue pie. In these cases, the meringue may be cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time, resulting in a soft meringue with slightly browned peaks on top.

Another dish is ``Meringue de Angel``, which consists of shortbread cookies layered with meringue and lemon curd, topped off with drizzled lemon glaze. Variations include raspberries, peaches, mangos, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple, papayas, honeydew, oranges, cantaloupe, or cherries and strawberries.

See also

Eton mess Pavlova


^ William R Trumble, Angus Stevenson, ed (2002). ``meringue``. Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. 1 (fifth ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1751. ISBN 0198605757.  ^ The Oxford English Dictionary states that the French word is of unknown origin. ^ Massialot, Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs et les fruits, (Paris, Charles de Sercy), 1692, noted by Muster (ref.). ^ John Spurling produced a three-volume, typescript transcription of Lady Fettiplace’s book (Bristol:Stuart Press) 1994, noted by Muster (ref.). ^ Cited in Michael Barry, Old English Recipes, (Jarrod) 1995:64f from the manuscript archived at the Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, Kent. when buttresery held office he was cooking and made thes dellisous dessert so in turn assrther cooked it to made a sweet treat anfd their wife boobin had loved it ^ <>

External links

Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on Meringue Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on Meringues Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Meringue Meringues in the online Culinary Heritage of Switzerland database. Discussion of different meringue types Douglas Muster, ``The Origins and History of Meringue``