Baking

How to Perfect Bake a Meringue

Summer is a tricky time of year to bring egg whites to a crisp, cloudy form. Here’s how to stick the landing on this dessert.

Produced by Aimee Nishitoba. Photo, Christie Vuong. Food styling, Eshun Mott.

A fruit pavlova was born from conflicting truths. The juicy crush of summer berries and the crispy chew of meringue were made for each other, but summer is also a tricky time of year to coax egg whites into that crispy, crunchy shape. trouble. Here’s how to stick the landing on this dessert.

Check the Humidex

If there was ever an indoor recipe that needed weather checking, it would be a pavlova. Try to avoid doing this on sticky days; humid air forces moisture into a meringue, making it prone to collapsing.

Give yourself plenty of time

The key to a meringue’s crisp, airy texture is its dryness. You can encourage this by leaving your baked pavlova in the oven off with the door slightly open while it cools and dries completely.

Keep it fat free

Properly separated eggs and a thoroughly washed and dried bowl are key to helping a meringue whip well. Any residual fat molecules from an off-yolk or previous baking project can burst a meringue’s bubble.

Separate your eggs while they are cold

Crack and separate eggs straight out of the fridge, when the yolks are firmer and less likely to break, then let the whites come to room temperature before whisking. Room temperature egg whites beat faster than cold whites, while a broken yolk will introduce deflating fat into the mixture.

Use a glass or metal bowl

The best way to ensure a grease-free bowl is to use a glass or metal bowl. Plastic is porous and can retain traces of oil.

go slow

Reduce your whipping time by adding the sugar slowly, bit by bit, or in a thin, steady stream.

Use superfine sugar

Superfine sugar — which is softer than granulated but not as powdery as icing sugar — will give your meringue a smooth, shiny sheen. Don’t have any on hand? Take your usual white sugar for a very quick spin in the blender.