|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 16g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 16g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
There's nothing quite like a fluffy, dreamy meringue to top your pie. It's not hard to pull off, but it's the kind of recipe where you want your bowl and beaters to be absolutely clean and the egg whites, which get whipped with a little bit of cream of tartar, to be at room temperature. This will help to produce the most consistent and stable volume in your meringue.
There are three basic types of meringue: French, Italian, and Swiss. This meringue pie topping, known as a French or common meringue, is a simple combination of egg whites whipped with sugar. It's the easiest type of meringue to make. Italian meringue is made by slowly adding hot melted sugar as you beat the egg whites, while Swiss meringue is made by whipping sugar and egg whites together over heat.
French meringue makes a delicious topping for a chocolate, banana, or lemon meringue pie or tart. A two-egg meringue is enough for a tart or a pie with moderate height, while a three-egg is best for a larger pie or a tall meringue. Cream of tartar is used in this recipe because it offers a little more stability to the delicate whipped egg whites. If you don't have cream of tartar, you can leave it out and the recipe should still work. If you can find superfine sugar, it is the best sugar to use in a meringue, since it dissolves easily for a creamy result.
For safety, a meringue must be cooked to the safe minimum temperature of 160 F. Do not eat meringue raw, since it contains raw egg whites.
Click Play to See This Classic Meringue Pie Topping Recipe Come Together
For a 2-Egg Meringue:
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 tablespoons sugar, preferably superfine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For a 3-Egg Meringue:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar, preferably superfine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gather the ingredients.
In a mixing bowl–preferably stainless steel or glass–beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt using the low speed of an electric mixer until they are frothy.
Add the cream of tartar and increase the mixer speed to medium. Continue beating until the whites are fluffy, with large bubbles forming around the edges.
With the mixer running, add the sugar a few teaspoons at a time, mixing the sugar in completely before adding more. Continue until all of the sugar is incorporated.
Continue beating until the peaks are firm but still glossy. Add the vanilla.
Spoon the meringue onto the hot pie filling. If you are topping an unbaked pie filling, have it at room temperature (not cold) before you top it with the meringue. Spread the meringue to the crust edge to seal the filling in. Fluff it with the back of a spoon to make decorative peaks across the pie.
Bake at 350 F/180 C/Gas Mark 4 for about 12 minutes for 2 egg whites or about 15 minutes for 3 egg whites.
Serve and enjoy.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk for food-borne illness.
- Separate the eggs while they are cold (it's easiest), but room temperature egg whites whip more readily than cold egg whites.
- Make sure to spread the meringue all the way to the crust; otherwise, the meringue might shrink on the filling when you bake it.
- A cornstarch and water mixture is a great way to provide extra stability to a meringue, especially on a humid day. Make a paste with 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of water. Heat it in the microwave oven for 10 or 15 seconds, or until the paste is clear. Once peaks have formed on your meringue mixture, beat in the cornstarch mixture, adding one teaspoon at a time.
- When making meringue, there's an issue called "weeping" or "beading" that can come from sugar or moisture. To avoid this, make sure not to refrigerate the meringue while it is still warm, or cook it for too long or at too high a temperature.
- In some cases, weather, baking temperature, or technique can cause issues when making meringue. So if something goes awry, backtrack your steps and try again.
Can You Overbeat Meringue?
If your meringue isn't fluffy, or if falls flat, looks dry or grainy, or deflates, it's been overbeaten. The quickest remedy for that is to beat one egg white separately, and then gently fold it into the overbeaten whites just until they're shiny again.