Fluffy and white, clean and bright — that’s how we like our meringues and divinities. These sugar and egg white treats are finicky, though. If you plan on making mountains of meringue, this blog is for you.
Meringues and divinities are crispy cousins. Both sweet treats are made from whipped egg whites and sugar. Generally, cream of tartar is also added. This is the best acid to stabilize the air cells generated when egg whites are whipped. Meringues can be shaped, colored and flavored to add extra pizzazz to their rather bland base.
Meringues are not all made equal. French meringue is nothing more than raw egg whites that are whipped with granulated sugar. Since it contains raw egg whites, it needs to be baked. Italian meringue is made by pouring a boiled sugar syrup onto whipping egg whites. This type of meringue is used to make mousses lighter or used for decorating cakes. It is not a good meringue for baking purposes.
There are many keys to a great meringue or divinity. First, you must make sure you have all the equipment you need. A candy or digital kitchen thermometer is essential when creating Italian-style meringue — where you want your sugar syrup to be just the right temperature. A standing mixer is also an essential, because a hand mixer will not have enough power to whip the eggs to their stiffest peaks. Parchment paper is a must when laying out meringue or divinity to cool. (Certain recipes may stick to foil or plastic wrap.)
In humid conditions, divinity will not harden when laid out to cool. If your meringue or divinity doesn’t harden after it’s cooled, you need to start over!
When making your divinity or meringue, it’s crucial to stick exactly to the recipe. The smallest discrepancies in measurement could mean a fallen, sunken or sticky meringue. Sugar is what stabilizes meringue, so using too little will make a meringue or divinity unstable. The same creates a separation of your egg whites after whipping.
It is not recommended to substitute sugar with an alternative like Steviacane.
Other problems could occur in the baking process. An oven that is too hot will cause your meringue to “bleed” or turn it chewy/gummy-like. The key to a solid meringue or divinity is to use a low oven temperature. You want to open the oven door once in a while to remove moisture buildup in the oven. A lower temperature oven also helps if you end up with a sticky meringue — you can place it back in the oven to harden up.
When you’ve reached the end of your recipe, the best way to store your finished delights are in an airtight container at room temperature. If frozen or put into the refrigerator, condensation will adhere to your candy when it’s removed from the freezer. This will create unwanted stickiness you worked so hard to prevent.
With these tips, we know you can make the most of your meringues and divinities. Try your hand at one of our hall of fame favorites this season to gift to your community!