Tuesday 27 January 2009

By the by: meringue

The kind of meringue you find most frequently on French tarts is meringue italienne which is one of three basic meringues we learn about. The essential differences are:
  • French meringue: egg whites whisked with sugar then cooked in the oven
  • Italian meringue: egg whites whisked with hot (121◦c) sugar syrup with no need for further cooking
  • Swiss meringue: egg whites and sugar heated in a bain-marie and then whisked until cool. Baked.
(This, therefore, is a French meringue according to what we have been taught. Silly ASDA.)

Each method gives a different result which does certain things better than the others.

The good thing about Italian meringue is that the boiling sugar pasteurizes the eggs. Since no further cooking is required you can pipe it straight onto a tart which you would not otherwise want to place into the oven. The surface can be caramelized with a blow torch.

To get the syrup to the correct temperature you can use a thermometer or do what we were taught today...moisten your fingers in a basin of water and just grab a lump of boiling sugar. Nuts. When you put the sugar back into the bowl it will go hard -- you know you're at 121◦c when the little bullet that is formed is no longer malleable. I let my partner do this bit.

No comments:

Post a Comment