Oh the sugary light treasure of these delicate sweet morsels that, after a little satisfying crunch, simply melt in the mouth. But are they French?
Meringue is a simple combination of whisked egg whites that sugar (or syrup in some countries) is slowly added to. There are three types of meringue, French, Italian, and Swiss - and all three countries lay claim to the origin of the meringue! And just to add to the confusion, Poland also lays claim to the creation of the meringue, as do the Croatians and Brazilians!
Italian pastry cook Gasparini has been attributed as the creator of the meringue in 1720, while he was working in the swiss village of Meiringen.
This claim, however, has been contested by many researchers who have found recipes for Meringues in a 1692 French cookbook, and even earlier in a book of recipes written in 1604 by an Englishwoman who called the delicacies 'white biskit bread'. English woman Lady Rachel Fane wrote a collection of recipes, including one for meringues, and called them 'pets' To this day slow baked meringues are referred to as 'pets' in the Loire region of my home country.
How The Meringues are Made Determines their Place of Origin
The technique for making the meringues determines whether they are French, Swiss, Italian, Polish, Croatian or Brazilian.
The following information is from Wikipedia, and I would encourage you to visit this page to find out more information about my favourite delicacy!
There are several types of meringue: the sweetened, beaten egg whites that form the "islands" of floating island (also known in French as île flottante); the partly cooked toppings of lemon meringue pie and other meringue-topped desserts; and the classic dry featherweight meringue. Different preparation techniques produce these results.
French meringue, or basic meringue, is the method best known to home cooks. Fine white sugar (caster sugar) is beaten into egg whites.
Italian meringue is made with boiling sugar syrup, instead of caster sugar. This creates a much more stable soft meringue which can be used in various pastries without collapsing. In an Italian meringue, a hot sugar syrup is whipped into softly whipped egg whites until stiff, and until the meringue becomes cool. This type of meringue is safe to use without cooking. It will not deflate for a long while and can be either used for decoration on pie, or spread on a sheet or baked Alaska base and baked.
Swiss meringue is whisked over a bain-marie to warm the egg whites, and then whisked steadily until it cools. This forms a dense, glossy marshmallow-like meringue. It is usually then baked.
Vegan meringue is imitation meringue made using aquafaba with a small dose of vinegar and caster sugar. It holds similar characteristics to that of egg-based meringue, but it will quickly burn if torched or baked incorrectly. Another variation uses potato protein instead of aquafaba.
Who Cares Where They Originated From - Just Eat Them!
For a true Taste Treat, make these simple meringues from Taste.com.au