Italian Meringue (Magnificent Pie Meringue)
recipe from Shirley Corriher’s book ‘Bakewise’
This very stable meringue is incredibly versatile – it makes magnificent billowy white peaks to brown if you wish. It is a large recipe so halve it if you do not need a cake iced and a pie covered too! This recipe shows: adding the sugar as a hot syrup cooks and swells the meringue immediately- no problems with weeping. Tested often by Frances Dalton-Hayward
1 tablespoon cornflour 1/3 cup cool water
Mix together in a small saucepan and whisk over a medium heat until thick and cloudy. Set aside until needed later.
To cover one cake
To cover a pie & cake
large egg whites (No 7)
cream of tartar
With whisks and bowls immaculately clean, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form when the beater is lifted. Add in ¼ cup sugar and continue to beat at medium speed while you prepare the syrup below.
1 ¾ cup
1 ½ tsp
Corn syrup or glucose
Pure vanilla essence
In a heavy unlined saucepan (do not use non stick coated pot), stir together the remaining sugar (¾ or 1¾ ), the corn syrup and water. Bring to boil and rinse down the sides of the pan with water on a pastry bush. Continue to boil until the syrup reaches 120ºC (hard ball stage) use a candy thermometer to check temp or drop small amount into cold water.
Continue beating whites until stiff peaks form. Ideally, have the whites stiff when the syrup reaches 120ºC. Drizzle the hot syrup carefully into the meringue while beating on a medium speed. Try to avoid drizzling onto a beaters or side of bowl. The meringue will swell dramatically to fill the whole bowl. Beat until the meringue has cooled, about 10 to 13 mins. Beat in vanilla and salt, then beat in about 2 - 3 tablespoons of the reserved cornflour paste, 1 tablespoon at a time. The meringue is essentially cooked but is still snow white. It is a perfect palette for a masterpiece.
Spread and cover over layers of Deep Dark Chocolate Cake and wait for the fantastic response. Black and white looks good in the plate. Great on Lemon Coconut Cake too, sandwich cake with lemon curd then cover with meringue for lemon heaven! Or spread meringue on pie and place in middle of preheated oven (190ºC) for about 10 mins to brown ridges. Remove and touch up with blowtorch if needed.
 Use fresh room temperature eggs for successful meringue. Beat at a medium speed for longer for a more stable foam and add sugar as soon as soft peaks form. Using cornflour paste prevents shrinking when baked and prevents tearing when meringue is cut.