There are three different types of meringues; French, Italian and Swiss. Each type is made using different techniques and for the Swiss meringue, the technique is to use a double boiler or bain-marie to dissolve sugar into egg whites, then whisk them in a mixer at a high speed to cool the mixture down. Making meringues is delicate work, but it must be done in order to make a Swiss buttercream, not to mention the hundreds of other uses for meringues. By following these steps you will have a perfect Swiss meringue every time.
To start you will need a medium sized sauce pot with 1 inch of water on low to medium heat, 1 pound of sugar and 8 ounces of egg whites, a mixing bowl a mixer and a whisk. It helps to boil your water first, then combine your egg whites and sugar in your mixing bowl, and start whisking. Ideally you will want your mixture to reach 135 degrees, but if you don’t have a thermometer it’s ok to rely on touch. While whisking constantly, check your mixture to see if the sugar is dissolving into the egg whites and that it is becoming one mixture. When the mixture is ready, attached your mixing bowl to a mixer and turn it on a low speed, then gradually increase the speed until it is on the highest setting. You want the mixture to cool down and the best indicator is to touch the bottom of the mixing bowl with your hand. If it is still warm, you need to continue mixing. You are looking for what is called “soft peaks”, which is when the mixture is strong enough to hold it’s shape when held upright, but is soft enough that the end of the meringue will curl. Once your mixture reaches soft peak, the meringue is done and you can start working on your buttercream.
Swiss Meringue Recipe
1 lbs Sugar
8 ounces Egg Whites