Bonjour (or Grüezi/Ciao/Allegra)!
By saying hello using the national languages of Switzerland (French, German, Italian, and Romansh), you probably think that I just came back from a vacation there. Sorry to disappoint but no, I did not return from skiing in the Alps yesterday. Not that I wouldn’t like to ski… However, I did a bit of research and found out that the meringue was invented in a village called Meiringen in Switzerland (if you look closely, the pronunciation is almost similar to meringue). That was a new thing because all this while I thought it was discovered in France. A meringue is basically egg whites beaten with sugar until it transforms into this white thing that looks like marshmallow fluff (refer photo below). Since meringues are made up of sugar, it is no surprise that meringues tend to be very sweet. It is widely known to be crunchy on the outside and soft inside (after baking, of course). For those who do not know, French meringue is the most popular type of meringue normally used to make macarons and, well… meringues. Unlike the Swiss meringue or Italian meringue, the egg whites are neither cooked by a double boiler nor by boiling sugar syrup. It isn’t cooked! Because of that, I try to avoid using French meringue but replace it with Swiss meringue whenever a recipe calls for meringue. Although this might not be a common practice, I like it because I can adjust the sweetness of the meringue. I know, right?! I can already hear the shrieks of terror from some of you out there but let me state this again:
I reduce the sugar in my meringues.
From my previous attempts, I discovered that Swiss meringue always comes out much smoother than French meringue. I don’t know how people do it but I can always feel bits of sugar (lots of it) whenever I make the latter. The last time I made a pavlova using the French meringue, the meringue collapsed and the sugar hardly dissolved and it was visible all over the surface. I hated it even more when I paired the already sweet pavlova with mangoes. It was horribly, terribly sweet.
This is what a meringue looks like. If you’re still not convinced, that really is just egg whites and sugar. The meringues are in the state of STIFF PEAKS.
But all that changed this month (March 2015) when I
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