Dec 16

16th December 2019 

Free Cake Tutorial: Italian Meringue

Meringues...there are so many different types!

Here's a tutorial for making Italian Meringue which uses heated sugar to make the meringue. This quick tip is from Pretty Witty Academy where you can learn how to make loads of meringues and frostings. 

In this free tutorial from Pretty Witty Academy you can make this Italian Meringue which can be used for so many deserts and as a frosting on cakes. It's great for Eton mess, meringue kisses, or left as they are and eaten with cream and fruit.

If you liked this tutorial, then have a look at this Meringue Kisses Tutorial (perfect to add to your cakes) over at the Academy.

Meringue Kisses

What is Italian Meringue?

Italian meringue, Swiss meringue, French meringue...there are SO many types! Cooked, uncooked, soft, hard, can you eat it raw? Do you have to oven bake? Surely there can't be so many variations on an egg and sugar mixture? Meringue is a mind field. Well fear not, we're here to help and shed a little light on the matter with this quick tip on Italian Meringue.

Italian meringue is the most stable meringue recipe, made by using hot sugar (liquid or heated in the oven) and whisking it into whipped egg whites. It has a silky texture and can be used as a frosting on cakes. Italian Meringue can then be blow torched to give the meringue a crisp outer layer and colour. It's stable nature means that it can also be used in ice creams and mousses!

What Are the Best Eggs to Use?

Fresh eggs are your friends when it comes to meringue.

It used to be thought that older eggs were better, and to an extent this was true. Older eggs are thinner, they have a more watery consistency and therefore are much easier to whip up. However, they are much less stable than fresh egg whites, as the liquid drains more easily from the bubbles. However, in this day and age of stand mixers, whipping up egg whites is easy and so using older egg whites is no longer common practice.

Fresh eggs are much more stable and although are harder to whip by hand, they result in a better meringue. They are much better for your meringue and with a stand or hand held mixer, they'll whip up in a few minutes.

So as a little rhyme to help you remember: fresh eggs are better, old eggs are wetter.

You should also be using eggs at room temperature. If the eggs are cold, it is more difficult for the whites to dissolve the sugar when making your meringue. If you only have eggs that are fridge cold then warm and loosen them up on a low speed. Then you can switch to a higher speed and start whisking to add volume.

Why Does It Have so Much Sugar?

Generally the rule of thumb when making meringue is 1 part egg white to two parts sugar. It is therefore safe to say, Italian meringue has a lot of sugar in it and this is not just to satisfy a sweet tooth.

The sugar is there to help hold the air bubbles in place as the sugar makes the walls of the egg white protein much stronger. 

Can It Be Over Whipped?

You need to be careful when whipping meringue. If you whip the eggs too much then they can curdle and you'll lose all the air you've just whipped into them. 

This does however become less of an issue when the sugar has been added. The sugar makes the meringue much more stable and so the chance of over beating is much lower. 

My Meringue is weeping!

A weeping meringue is always a heart sink moment after you've carefully whipped and looked after your delicate mixture.

Meringue's weep when your sugar syrup or sugar has not been heated to the correct temperature. It needs to be at the soft ball stage which is 120 degrees celsius - 248 Fahrenheit.

You may also have not whipped your egg whites enough, they need to have really stiff peaks before adding your sugar. 

How to Store Italian Meringue

Italian Meringue, once cooked, should be kept in an air tight container. If the meringue is left exposed to humid air then it will form beads of sweat as the sugar in the meringue attracts the moisture from the air. This is called weeping and can ruin your meringue.

Top Tips for Italian Meringue:

  • All you need are egg whites and sugar, it's that simple!
  • This meringue uses oven cooked sugar, which cook the egg whites as the sugar is added. 
  • Make sure your bowl and beaters are really clean and grease free. You should also ensure there is no yolk contaminating the white.    
  • You will know when the sugar is ready, as it will start to melt and discolour a bit.
  • Once the sugar has been added you should whisk again, for about 10 minutes the second time.
  • You can bake the meringue or leave it as it is and use it as a frosting on cakes.
  • When baking, they are cooked on low and then left for a couple of hours to dry out. Patience is key!

Our Final Words:

We hope you feel inspired to give Italian Meringue a go! It's really not as daunting as it seems and if you follow our top tips, we're sure you'll make an amazing meringue every time. Italian Meringue is so versatile and creates a silky smooth filling or topping to any cake or pie, so go on, give it a go. 

If you loved this tutorial and want more inspiration, why not check out this recipe for Angel White Cake over on the Academy. It uses this soft Italian Meringue as a frosting for this light and delicious cake. You can also have a look at our recipe for meringue kisses.

You'll find so many more recipes and tutorials over at Pretty Witty Academy as well so go and have a look!

Angel Cake
Meringue Kisses

Over on the Pretty Witty Academy site we have so many more cake tutorials. You'll learn so much from basic recipes all the way to advanced level wedding and novelty cakes. There is also a huge business sections for anyone wishing to own a cake business. 

Why not check out some of these wonderful recipes and amazing gravity defying cakes! See more at Pretty Witty Academy.

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