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Italian Meringue

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 



I've been trying to make macarons using the italian meringue method and my meringue wont work and i can for the life of me work out why. 


I heat my sugar syrup and just before it gets to 120C I beat my egg whites to stiff peaks.  as soon as both are ready I add the sugar syrup in a thin stream to the egg whites while whisking.  once all is added i whisk full speed.


at first they seem to be looking good, tick and glossy but then it rapidly sinks and becomes a thick glossy liquid instead of a stiff meringue mixture.


i've tried this 4 times and every time they sink.  Any tips where i might be going wrong what i can do differently would be greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 6

Make sure the Italian meringue is cold before removing from mixer- the base of the bowl should no longer be warm, otherwise the meringue will start to break down as you described.

post #3 of 6


A 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar to each cup of whites sugar/water should be at 245degF

and as 'cakeface' stated, do NOT shut the mixer off until thoroughly cool to the touch, you can however lower the speed to about '5' on the stand mixer


Should last a day or two but it will separate if you have overbeaten the whites prior to adding the sugar syrup.


post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

its actually happening as the mixer is going.  i did stop it for asecond at the beginning once all the syrup was added to scrap down the splattered sugar syrup on the sides of the bowl.  at first it would fluff up slightly but then after about 30seconds to a minute on high speed it would sink into thickened cream like consistancy. i tried leaving it whipping for ages and it stayed how it was...

post #5 of 6

'i did stop it for a second at the beginning once all the syrup was added to scrap down the splattered sugar syrup on the sides of the bowl.'  


Now I understand.  You shouldn't have to stop the mixer because there shouldn't be any splattered sugar syrup on the sides of the bowl.  If you do it means that all the sugar is not getting into to the whites so your meringue will be runnier, plus you'll probably have little lumps of sugar too in the meringue.


Do the following:


  • Start whisking your whites when your sugar syrup reads about 110C (so that your whites aren't over-whisked or are whisked too early and fallen flat (see Liza's post above)


  • When the syrup is ready, wait a minute for all the bubbles to subside before beginning to pour.


  • Switch your mixer to medium speed and start pouring the syrup in a slow, steady stream down the side of the bowl (this will leave a syrup trail on the bowl, continue pouring the syrup down this trail). Don't pour it near the centre or it will hit the whisk and you'll end up with the sugar on the sides of the bowl not in the meringue, giving you a runny meringue again!


  • Once you have finished pouring increase the speed of the mixer, don't stop it to scrape down the sugar syrup trail on the side of the bowl-this will have cooled now and if you incorporate it, the meringue will have lumps in it.


Once the volume is in the meringue, you can reduce speed to medium as Liza said earlier, and leave the meringue to continue cooling in the mixer.



post #6 of 6


any of the sugar syrup that hits the side of the bowl has crystallized, therefore, you do NOT want that incorporated into the meringue anyway. It will give it a grainy texture.


Off topic (sorta) Never handle egg whites with plastic utensils prior to making meringue. This includes separating into plastic bowls measuring cups, etc. As much as we like to think that these plastics are 'clean' they actually have residual greases from butter, etc. This will be picked up by your whites and prevent them from whisking. Always use glass or metal bowls for your whites.


Never add flavorings such as chocolate until whites are thoroughly cool and gently fold in (you can use the whisk attachment, but you have to 'pulse') Once again, you will get soup as it's the cooled sugar at this point that gives the whites their structure.

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