How to Make Meringues the Italian Way

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Italian Meringues

Meringues, or baci bianchi (white kisses), are super easy to make, but I can’t count how many times I have tried to make them when everything went wrong. Then I found a good recipe and became very fond of meringues. They were crunchy, smooth, and intact outside, yet perfectly baked inside—as perfect as those you could buy at your favorite bakery. 

As white as snow and crunchy and soft at the same time, these melt-in-your-mouth delicacies may garnish all kinds of desserts and cakes.  Meringues are an exquisite foam mound made of only two ingredients: egg whites and sugar. It is the perfect recipe when you don’t want to throw away the whites leftover from previous preparations such as tiramisu or custard. 

So do genuine Italian meringues exist? Yes, they do. For example, the way we whip the eggs makes a difference; the Italian method is more elaborate, and a thermometer is needed. However, I have simplified the process so that you can make them as well. 

Another Italian secret is to add a few drops of lemon. That way the batter will get glossier and foamier. I have tried, and it works. The best part is that it adds a pleasant citrus scent to your meringues.

Do not use salt as it will also destabilize the foam.

Baking is the most difficult part of the recipe 

The recipe is super easy, but the cooking process is quite tricky. You have to bake them in a static oven at 200°F (90°-100°C) at the beginning and then you decrease the temperature to 175°F (79°- 80°C) after 20 minutes.

If the temperature is too high, the meringues will get yellowish and cracks will appear on the surface. Bake them for 2 hours. Keep in mind that if they crack on the surface, you have to decrease the temperature. After 1½ hours, wedge the oven door open with a wooden spoon to prevent overheating and bake for 30 minutes more. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool down with the door slightly open for 5-6 hours. 

How to bake the typical French meringues step by step: the Italian way!

How to bake the typical French meringues step by step: the Italian way!

I really can’t tell you that everything in my kitchen always goes well. Sometimes things go wrong, sometimes unbelievable things happen… . As a nutritionist I must be really tidy and punctual, in my job, but when I get into my kitchen my muddling clumsy soul gets the better of me. Last weekend I prepared some mascarpone cream (well it was not just a cream, it was the best one I had ever made!). I had plenty of the egg whites left…I could not certainly throw them away! So, I made my first ‘real’ meringue cookies ever. Yes, the recipe looks very easy, it may be a child’s play…not at all! The traps are in the oven! Their cooking is quite tricky, but I have successfully overcame it! 
To be honest, I had a little funny accident: I was squeezing that devilish slice of lemon which make s the meringue cookies shiny and glittering, when it almost blew up onto my face. Well you could not squeeze it into the bowl of the stand mixer, but I washed my face. Good, actually not very good! Next time I am going to wear mask, flippers and swimsuit to make meringue cookies! 
Print
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy meringues, meringues
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites at room temperature (200g)
  • 440 gr of powdered sugar 
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice (14ml)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 175°F (80°C); 
  • Weigh the egg whites directly in the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk at medium speed (speed 6 on a KitchenAid); 
  • Add 1 cup (220g) of sugar but only a little at a time. Let the mixer run for a couple of minutes and then increase the speed (to 8); 
  • Add the lemon juice and beat at a high speed (10) for about 10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Test your foam with a visual test—if you turn the bowl upside down, the foam shouldn’t fall out. The foam should be glossy;
  • If you have a pastry bag, fill it with foam by adding it carefully to the bag. Use the star tip and pipe out the foam into 1-inch (3 cm) mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keep them uniform so that they bake evenly. If spooning them out, keep them as high (in mounds) as possible. Remember to leave enough space between them because they will increase in size. Meringues must be baked as soon as they are spooned or piped out. 
  • Bake them on a parchment-lined cookie tray in a static oven for 2 hours so that they dry very slowly. Meringues are done when the center is dry. Let them cool down completely and remove them from the tray. As their baking is quite long you should prepare the meringues the day before and leave them in the oven until it cools down completely. 

How you can store meringues 

Meringues keep for a very long time (due to the high content of sugar which is a natural preservative); just don’t let them get wet. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature; if you store them in an airtight container, they will last a very long time. Just don’t refrigerate or freeze them.

Variations

You may change their shape and add fillings: round small mushrooms, small cookies filled with chocolate custard; or frost them with chocolate cream; In fact, you can add anything to them. If you are adding cocoa powder or instant espresso powder, sift them into the sugar before adding the mixture to the egg whites. 

An Italian with a very sweet tooth might even crumble them into coffee or hot chocolate.

If you want to give a shade of color, you may divide the foam into as many bowls as many colors as you want; just add a little food coloring to each bowl. When adding color, be careful as the foam goes flat easily. You may also spice them up with some cinnamon, anise, or cocoa powder. They will be really tempting as well. Set your imagination free and try these simple delights.

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