These star shaped meringues, “spangled” with fresh berries are the perfect patriotic dessert for the summer.I like meringues. They were the very first dessert I learned to make in high school.
They can be soft and chewy, or delicate and crisp.
They’re delicious on their own, paired with ice cream or whipped cream and topped with berries. Since I’ve made them into the shape of clouds to go with easy Tropical Sorbet, and into hearts for a romantic Valentine dessert, and as part of Eton Mess. Star shaped meringues for patriotic holidays, had to be next! (This post was first published on July 1st, 2015 and has been updated to contain nutritional information. As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Are meringues hard to make?
Meringues are not very hard to make, they are just egg whites and sugar. A pinch of cream of tartar helps to stabilize the whites. They don’t actually bake, so much as they dry out. The key to successful meringues is to make sure there is no grease or any specks of egg yolk in the whites. Make sure that your beaters and bowl are completely clean and dry.
Do meringues harden as they cool?
- Wipe my bowl and beaters with just a bit of white vinegar to ensure there is not leftover grease or fat which will prevent the whites from becoming stiff and glossy.
- Make sure to rinse the bowl out with warm water to remove any traces of vinegar and dry with a clean towel.
- Another tip to make sure you don’t waste any eggs, is to crack each egg separately and transfer the white to another bowl. That way if a little egg yolk accidentally gets into the white, you can put the egg aside for another use and not ruin the rest of the whites.
Can you overbeat a meringue?
Yes you can! You need to beat the meringue until the peaks are forming but don’t go much past that. You still want it to have a light and airy texture and overbeating it can cause it to be the opposite of that.
Will the weather affect meringues?
Humidity will affect the texture of meringues, but if they do soften, they can easily be put back into the oven at 175 degrees F. to “re-crisp”.
Can you make meringues in advance?
Yes! This is the perfect recipe to make in advance, thus cutting down the time you spend in the kitchen. Make them up to 5 days in advance and store them in an air-tight container on the counter. If you live in a humid climate, see above about “resurrecting” meringues.
How to make meringues
In a clean, dry bowl whip egg whites until light and foamy. When the whites are approaching soft peak stage, gradually add sugar a few teaspoons at a time. Continue beating until they are stiff and shiny. Be careful not to over-beat or they will break. The whites should be thick and glossy, and stand up when the whip is pulled through it.
The stiffness helps the meringue shells keep their shape. Trace the desired shape(s) on a sheet of parchment paper.
Reverse the parchment so that you won’t get any pencil residue on your meringues. To keep the parchment from curling, use a dab of the meringue to “glue” the parchment to the baking sheet. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star-tip, fill in the bottom of the star, smoothing if necessary, to make a bottom that’s about 1/4″ thick. Then pipe around the edges, two rows high.
Pipe any leftover meringue into small stars.
How to serve meringues?
Meringues are so versatile. You can eat them on their own. You can put out empty star shells and let guest fill them with their choice of ice cream. Or you can fill the shells with whipped cream or ice cream and fresh berries or fruit.
How do you fix chewy meringue?
Even though you’re going to want to store these meringues in an airtight container, there is a chance that they’re going to get dried out. If that happens, you can pop them in the oven (200 degrees) for about 10-15 minutes. Just keep an eye on them. After the time has passed, take them out and they should be nice and crisp again.
What are some other fun meringue shape ideas?
While these are shaped for the 4th of July holiday and other patriotic celebrations, you can easily make other shapes, too! Meringue hearts are super popular as are meringue kisses as well. If you have a shape you want to make, give it a try. Even if they don’t turn out visually, you know that they’re going to still taste really good.
How to store Baked Meringues
If you’re lucky enough to have some leftovers, store them in an airtight container for later. Make certain that they’ve cooled down all the way and store them in a container with a lid. You might be able to store them in a freezer bag but just be careful not to break them as you’re putting them in the fridge.
Can you make meringues low-carb?
Yes! Substitute the powdered sugar for powdered erythritol like Swerve. Proceed with the recipe in exactly the same way.
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- Pre-heat oven to 200*, line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat,
- In a clean grease free mixing bowl, whip white on low speed until foamy.
- Add salt, cream of tartar and vanilla and continue whipping about 8 minutes or so, the whites should begin to have soft peaks.
- Gradually add sugar, a few teaspoons at a time and continue beating until the whites are stiff and shiny, like satin.
- Either use a pastry bag to pipe out shapes or drop by tablespoons on prepared sheets.
- Bake for about 1½ hours at 200* with oven door slightly ajar.
- When they are done, they will be crispy and light and will be easily removed from the cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container. They do not need to be refrigerated.