Elderflower & thyme Eton mess

This is the general resource page for meringue.

The history of meringues, taken from wiki:

It has been claimed that meringue was invented in the Swiss village of Meiringen and improved by an Italian chef named Gasparini in the 18th century.However this claim is contested; the Oxford English Dictionary states that the French word is of unknown origin. It is sure nevertheless that the name meringue for this confection first appeared in print in François Massialot’s cookbook of 1692. The word meringue first appeared in English in 1706 in an English translation of Massialot’s book. Two considerably earlier seventeenth-century English manuscript books of recipes give instructions for confections that are recognizable as meringue, though called “white biskit bread” in the book of recipes started in 1604 by Lady Elinor Fettiplace (c. 1570 – c. 1647) of Appleton in Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire), and called “pets” in the manuscript of collected recipes written by Lady Rachel Fane (1612/13–1680), of Knole, Kent. Slowly baked meringues are still referred to as “pets” (meaning farts in French) in the Loire region of France due to their light and fluffy texture

Meringue comes in various forms, but has a basic underlying technique based on the following 3 different types:

  • French meringue
  • Italian meringue
  • Swiss meringue

Each meringue has different applications; from soufflés, parfaits, lemon meringue pie toppings, to mousses & buttercreams. It is important to marry the right one to the correct product you’re trying to make.


French meringue is ideal for nests & pavlovas

 French meringue

  • 115g Caster sugar
  • 115g Icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 Egg whites

Whisk the egg whites & the salt on a medium to high speed with an electric whisk, until they just start to peak. Now reduce the speed to medium & gently add the caster sugar in a slow constant stream.

When fully incorporated continue to whisk for about 2-3 minutes, then reduce the speed to a low pace and gradually add the icing sugar.


Making Italian meringue

Italian meringue

  •  180g Castor sugar
  • 15ml Water
  • 20g Liquid glucose
  • 3 Egg whites

Combine the water, sugar & glucose. Bring to the boil and continue cooking.

Whilst the syrup is cooking, place the egg whites in a machine mixing bowl. When the syrup reaches 112ºc, start to whisk the whites on a medium speed.

When the syrup reaches 119-121ºc remove from the heat, wait for 10 seconds, then slowly pour the hot syrup, in a continuous stream, onto the egg whites whilst the machine is still whisking.

When all the syrup is added, reduce the speed of the machine to medium slow & continue to whisk until cool.

Swiss meringue

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 250g Icing sugar, sifted
  • Vanilla essence

Combine all the ingredients in a rounded bottom bowl.

Whisk over a pan of simmering water, until thick, voluminous and shiny (not dis-similar to marshmallows). Use immediately.