Meringue is a traditional French dessert that has been around for centuries. It’s produced from beaten egg whites and sugar and can be eaten in a variety of ways. Whether you’re creating macarons or puddings, fresh meringue is always the best. How long does meringue stay fresh? Cooked meringue can be stored in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to two weeks. Raw meringue, on the other hand, has a 24-hour shelf life.
In this piece, we’ll look at the shelf life of meringue and offer some advice on how to keep it fresh. If you want to be a pastry chef, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about meringue!
What Is Meringue?
Egg whites and sugar are the only two components needed to make meringue, which is essentially a cloud-like froth. In order to create meringues, sugar is progressively added to the mixing bowl while the egg whites are being beaten at high speed to generate stiff peaks. The meringue is then cooked for approximately an hour at a moderate temperature (about 200°F), which will aid in setting the structure and enable the foam to adhere to the surface.
You can make a gorgeous, marshmallow-like foam using this incredibly straightforward method, which can be eaten both on its own and as a dessert topper (like puddings). Although the history of meringue is uncertain, the most well-known kind is French meringue, which was made using the above-mentioned method. The cloud-like macaron stuffing is most frequently made using this method.
There are, however, various kinds of meringue, and they are all made and stabilized using a slightly different method. When whipping egg whites for Italian meringues, heated sugar syrup is substituted for normal sugar. Because there won’t be any sugar grains, this substitute makes the meringue stiffer and fluffier and smoother in texture. Cake icing is frequently made using this method.
Swiss meringue, also known as meringue cuite, is smoother than French meringue but less sturdy than Italian meringue. When producing Swiss meringue, the egg whites and sugar are combined while being heated in a double boiler, merging the whipping and heating processes so that the egg white is cooked while it is being beaten.
The heat will enable the sugar to dissolve entirely more quickly, enabling the foam structure to be denser than that of French meringue. The mixture is beaten after being taken out of the double boiler until firm peaks form.
How To Make Meringue Cookies
Meringue can be eaten on its own in the same way as cookies or biscuits are. If you want to bake meringue cookies, you can modify the traditional European meringues stated above to make the structure more stable and tasty to eat. Meringue cookies that have been properly prepared will be crunchy on the exterior but frothy on the inside. The cookies will melt in your mouth and are always a pleasure to eat!
- Clean mixing bowl
- Hand mixer or a stand mixer
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup of caster sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
1. Turn on the oven at 200 F.
Separate the egg whites and place them in a mixing dish. Then, incorporate your cream of tartar and beat until thoroughly combined.
3. Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak while adding the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, slowly and gradually.
To ensure that the sugar is thoroughly incorporated into the egg white, it must be added to it very gently. Your meringue won’t be able to bubble up and reach the proper volume if you don’t do this.
4. Continue beating while adding the vanilla extract until firm peaks are visible. By lifting the mixer, you may determine whether your meringue is finished; if the froth is still stiff on the beater, you were successful.
As an alternative, you can test the foam’s consistency by dipping a clean finger into the meringue. It ought to develop a firm top that won’t collapse after a short while.
Rub your fingers together to check if any sugar grains are present. If you choose to do so, be sure to whisk the meringue for a few more seconds to ensure that the sugar is fully dissolved. Doing so will give your meringue an incredibly smooth texture.
5. Place the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a pipe tip. Make tiny “cookies” with a half-inch gap between each on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
6. After baking the meringue cookies for roughly an hour at 200°F, turn off the oven and let the cookies in there to cool for an additional hour.
Before you enjoy the meringue cookies, this step will make sure they are cooked and stabilized properly.
Any fat residue in your mixing bowl must be removed. Otherwise, the fat will interfere with the foam’s structure. To guarantee that the dish is fully clean, use lemon juice or vinegar to clean it.
Room temperature egg whites will produce stiffer peaks more easily. If you just took your eggs out of the refrigerator, let them out for about an hour before using them to allow them to get to room temperature.
Because cream of tartar is acidic, it will aid in the stabilization of the structure. If you don’t have cream of tartar, another acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, can be used in its place.
Salt will balance your palate and enhance the sweetness of the meringue.
Caster sugar, or any fine-grain sugar, will dissolve more easily into the meringue, resulting in a silky texture.
You may flavor your meringue cookies with cocoa powder, cinnamon, or whatever else you choose!
How Long Does Meringue Last?
Since the foam structure might deflate, particularly when the meringue is raw, fresh meringue is always preferable. Knowing how long your meringue will last, however, might be very useful if you want to store it to enjoy later. The best-by date varies for each type of meringue because there are numerous varieties and numerous cooking methods.
If kept in an airtight container away from heat and moisture, cooked French meringue can remain fresh at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. The egg whites are cooked when made into Swiss or Italian meringue, which keeps them fresh in the refrigerator for roughly five days. The foam may shrink and the raw egg whites may spoil if uncooked meringues aren’t baked within 24 hours.
Meringue that is purchased from a store is typically preserved, allowing it to stay fresh for up to a year. If you plan to use store-bought meringue, you can look at the packaging to see when it expires.
How To Store Raw Meringue
Uncooked meringues will not last long, therefore bake the meringue immediately after whipping to retain the structure of the foam. The raw meringue must be utilized within 24 hours of being whipped. The foam will deflate otherwise. If you need to store raw meringue, place it in an airtight container to keep moisture at away and place it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. If you see that some of the foam has deflated after 24 hours, whip it vigorously again to restore the air bubbles inside the meringue.
How to Store Cooked Meringue
Cooked meringue has a fairly stable structure and keeps well for two to three weeks. However, you must know how to store meringue properly if you want to preserve its structure and crunchy exterior. Moisture is the main element that can make your meringue less crisp. The meringue will become extremely crispy and frothy as a result of the complete evaporation of liquid during baking. The texture will be lost, and the foam won’t melt in your mouth, if moisture from the air is absorbed into the meringue.
So that moisture cannot seep into the cooked meringue, it is recommended to store cooked meringue in an airtight container. Meringue should be kept either at or below room temperature for storage. It’s preferable to keep the meringue in a dry, cold corner of your house because heat might affect its texture. Let your meringues cool completely in the oven after baking them before removing them from the baking sheet. After that, put them in an airtight container and give them some time to cool.
After roughly an hour, you may secure the cover and store the meringue for up to three weeks in a dry, cool environment. Make careful to store your meringue in the refrigerator if it is going to be used in a dessert like pie or pudding. The meringue should be covered with plastic wrap because the refrigerator can be a damp environment and the moisture shouldn’t affect the texture of the meringue.
Can You Freeze Meringue?
If you don’t use all of your meringue right away, you may freeze it to extend its life! The nicest aspect is that both raw and cooked meringue may be frozen. When done correctly, raw meringue can be frozen for up to a year, while cooked meringue can be frozen for up to three months! The secret to successfully freezing meringue is to utilize a freezer-safe, airtight container. This style of container prevents moisture from entering your meringue, keeping it fresher for longer.
If you want to freeze your meringue, let it cool to room temperature first. After that, you can put it in your container. If you have individual meringue cookies, place them in layers separated by parchment paper to make them simpler to separate while thawing. Then, close the container to prevent air or moisture from entering, and set it in the freezer.
Thaw the meringue at room temperature only if necessary. The moisture in the air will be collected by the chilly container, causing the meringue to “sweat” and become soggy. Instead, defrost the meringue in the refrigerator’s cold section. The cool temperature will gently defrost the meringue without absorbing too much moisture, preserving the texture of the meringue.
In the freezer, raw meringue may separate and lose part of its fluffiness, but this does not indicate that the meringue has gone bad. If you notice any evidence of separation, gently whisk it again with your hand mixer to restore its texture.
However, freezing meringue will lead it to lose some of its flavors, so you won’t be able to freeze it again without losing some of its deliciousness. Use up all of your meringue while it is still fresh!
How To Tell If Your Meringue Has Gone Bad
If your meringue has gone bad, you can easily tell. For instance, if your container is not tightly shut, moisture may enter, resulting in the growth of green mold and the ruination of the meringue. The meringue has degraded if it smells terrible or is discolored. When something seems unaltered but tastes sour or unpleasant, or if the meringue is chewy or soggy, it is said to be ruined.
Now that we’ve covered the many forms of meringue and how to bake meringue cookies, here are some extra questions we thought you might have.
Why is my meringue runny?
The presence of runny meringue indicates that your egg whites need to be better beaten. When whipping egg whites, the mixture will continue to thicken as you beat. It is finished when the egg whites are firm enough to stand up on their own. You haven’t finished mixing if your meringue is runny. The foam won’t collapse when you remove it from the mixer if you beat the ingredients at a high speed for a few more minutes until you see the peaks forming.
Why is my meringue not forming peaks?
If you’ve been beating for an eternity and your meringue still hasn’t formed peaks, the problem could be something else. The first cause could be that you dumped all of the sugar into the meringue at once. The structure is stabilized by the sugar, and if the sugar is not gradually well-combined with the egg yolk, the structure may not form.
That’s why you’ll need to add the sugar gently, one tablespoon at a time, to give the mixer enough time to integrate everything and produce the peaks. Another thing that can contribute to this is using a filthy bowl with fat residue. The fat residue in the bowl can interfere with the protein in the egg yolk, making foam formation problematic. To avoid this problem, wipe out the mixing bowl with a touch of vinegar or lemon juice to completely remove the fat before using it to combine the meringue.