If you are a beginner, I advise you to start with this recipe in order to learn how to make perfect meringue. It is more reliable and gives you much more chances to get a good result.
For general information, there are three ways to whisk egg whites and accordingly 3 types of meringue: French, Swiss and Italian.
French meringue – egg whites whipped with sugar;
Swiss meringue – whites are heated with sugar and then whipped;
Italian meringue – whites whipped with hot sugar syrup.
This time we’ll learn how to cook meringue on the water bath, that is Swiss meringue.
100 g egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
a pinch of salt
200 g white sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Combine whites, salt and sugar in a bowl. (The bowl should be metal or glass, NOT plastic.)
2. Make a water bath: pour a little water in a small pan, literally 2 cm from the bottom, bring to a boil, reduce heat (the water should boil slightly), put a container with whites and sugar on top so that it does not touch boiling water (this is important!).
3. Constantly stirring with a whisk, warm until sugar is completely dissolved. Ideally, the temperature of whites for swiss meringue should be 130-140 degrees F, but it’s enough when you try with your finger to feel that there are no sugar grains in whites.
4. Remove the bowl from the water bath and whip the mixture with a mixer, gradually increasing the speed to maximum. Whip until getting firm dense peaks.
5. Add lemon juice and whip at low speed for a few seconds until the juice mixes with the meringue.
Now your swiss meringue is getting done and you can use it where you want, for example, make swiss buttercream or bake meringue cookies:
Put the meringues on the parchment using two spoons or a pastry bag. Bake meringues at 175-200 degrees F for 1-3 hours. The longer you bake, the drier will be meringues inside. If you want a viscous center like nougat, bake 1-1.5 hours. Baking time also depends on the size of the meringue: small ones will dry quickly, while large ones will take more time to get dried.
Why does baked meringue get wet in few hours after cooking?
And what to do with damp meringues?
Meringue soaks due to humidity in the room or when touching wet surfaces, such as cake frosting or container walls, on which condensation has appeared. Do not leave baked meringues in a closed, turned off oven and store them in a dry, tightly closed container. If the meringues got damp, dry them again in the oven, half an hour at 160-175 degrees F.