Have you heard of meringue? This soft and sweet treat is a mixture of egg whites and granulated sugar whipped into a creamy-looking ivory paste that can be soft when fresh and stiff when dried in an oven. Because of its versatility, it can be used in a variety of ways in many different desserts.
The dessert was said to have first been invented in 1720 by Swiss pastry cook Gasparini. Others say that the true inventor of this saccharine staple of dessert was a chef who cooked for the Polish King Stanislas I Leszcyński. These treats were shaped by spoons until the 19th century when French pastry chef Antoine Carême first used a piping bag to dole out sugary cremes.
The dish is simply egg whites beaten continuously until the proteins are unfolded and combine with the air bubbles formed. Gradually, sugar is added to help the liquid hold its shape, helping it take shape and turn white. Depending on its purpose, you can add more sugar to the pipe and form stiffer shapes or withhold the sweet stuff to turn it into a soft topping for cakes or pies.
This saccharine sensation is often presented in many delightful desserts. It is well known in its stiff, “kisses-like” shape, piped out then dried into a convenient and crunchy treat. Other times, it can be topped with baked items like key lime pie or pavlova. The baked alaska is also a popular treat, consisting of a block of frozen ice cream topped on a sponge cake and then covered in meringue which will be baked in an oven.