Meringues have been around for hundreds of years and are now a popular choice for dessert lovers — not to mention a staple in many bakeries and restaurants. These desserts are made of sugar, whipped whites, and cream of tartar (or any other type of acidic ingredient), and they’re known for their light and airy texture as well as their sweet and scrumptious flavor. Aside from being delicious, meringues stand out from many other dessert options because of their versatility. From cute meringue cookies to rich and luxurious pies, you won’t run out of ways to enjoy these sugary confections.
One of the common ways to use meringues is to make them the basis of various desserts. Baked Alaska is a popular example — it consists of ice cream and sponge cake in a pie dish that’s then topped with meringue. The entire thing is baked in an extremely hot oven for a short period of time to make the meringue firm without melting the ice cream inside it.
Another excellent and well-loved dessert is the lemon meringue pie, which has a shortbread base that is filled with lemon curd and is topped with a generous layer of meringue that’s shaped into eye-catching peaks. Just like with the baked Alaska, this pie is briefly baked to ensure that the meringue peaks will be stiff enough to hold their shape and create the distinctive look and feel that characterizes the pie. Key lime pie is a variation of this meringue pie; the only difference is that it’s made of lime curd instead of lemon.
Aside from baked Alaska and lemon/lime pies, there are many other meringue-based desserts to choose from. These include Macarons and île flottante from France, Pavlova from Australia and New Zealand, Kyiv cake from Ukraine, Eton mess from England, and Silvana and Sans Rival from the Philippines.
While meringue is best known as the base for a wide range of desserts, it’s important to note that it can also be eaten on its own, usually in the form of a cookie. Unlike the previously mentioned desserts that have to be briefly baked, meringue cookies are created by setting the oven at a very low heat and leaving the cookies inside for a long time. In fact, these dessert options are also known as forgotten cookies since they can be left in the oven for many hours without negatively affecting their taste and texture.
Vanilla meringue cookies are the classic option and are well-loved by generations of dessert enthusiasts. However, chocolate meringue cookies and strawberry are also now available, along with exciting flavors like caramel and cappuccino.
Meringues often play the main role in various pies and cakes, but they’re also versatile enough to be a supporting actor and let other ingredients take the spotlight. Many bakers, for example, create realistic-looking meringue mushrooms and use them to decorate fairy-themed or forest-themed cakes. You can also make meringue nests and fill them with fruit, curd, or even flowers and use them as embellishments or serve them as is.
Meringue is one of the most versatile confections and should be considered when you’re making or buying desserts for yourself or your loved ones. Worried about the sugar and carb content in meringues? Don’t fret since you can now buy healthier options from Tidbits! We offer guilt-free meringue cookies that are made without sugar, cholesterol, and dairy, and we have a variety of flavors to choose from. Try our classic chocolate meringue cookies, strawberry, and vanilla flavors or excite your taste buds with our mint chocolate and cotton candy variants! Don’t forget to contact us if you have any questions!