Though it is one of the more simple sweets in existence, meringue can come in numerous forms. Whether opting for Italian, Swiss, Australian, or French meringue, each method is slightly different in the way it incorporates sugar into egg whites. French meringue is the most traditional of all methods, using nothing more than the vigorous friction of whisking to create a sugary, edible foam. While no heat is required, French meringue can also be the most temperamental of the meringue methods.
One of its fussiest attributes? An allergy to any and all fat. When you whip egg whites, you're unraveling tightly coiled proteins that create a foamy network of bubbles. Sweetened with sugar, this foamy mix becomes meringue as you continue to whip it, with the egg foam becoming steadily stiffer until you reach that gold standard of firm peaks. Still, this protein network is sensitive. When you introduce fat into the mix the egg white proteins become more unstable and have a difficult time getting to that stiff peak stage.
How To Avoid A Greasy Mistake
One easy way to keep fat away from your meringue is to properly clean your mixing bowl and beaters. A simple rinsing won't due either, as fat will leave a greasy residue unless you apply some soap, hot water, and a bit of elbow grease. Make sure to dry with a fresh, clean towel, and not the one that's been hanging around for a while. The next step to keeping fat out of your meringue is properly separating your eggs.
Separating the whites from their fatty yolks can be a pain and it's easy to see how a drop of yolk or two can stymie your white whipping. For the best results, make sure you're using cold eggs, as the inside will be thick and gel-like making them easier to separate from the yolk. Also, make sure you're using the egg shells or an egg-separating tool rather than your hands to get the job done. While bare hands may seem the easiest option, the oils from your hands could also affect your whipping, putting you back at square one. If you follow these simple rules, only time will stand in the way of your perfectly textured meringue.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.