Scientific Name: –
Meringue, is a type of dessert, often associated with Swiss and French cuisine, made from whipped egg whites and sugar, and occasionally an acid such as cream of tartar or a small amount of vinegar. A binding agent such as cornstarch or gelatin may also be added. The addition of powdered sugar, which usually contains corn starch, to the uncooked meringue produces a pavlova, a national dish of Australia and New Zealand. The key to the formation of a good meringue is the formation of stiff peaks formed by denaturing the protein ovalbumin (a protein in the egg whites) via mechanical shear. Meringues are often flavoured with vanilla and a small amount of almond or coconut extract although if these extracts are based on an oil infusion then this, if used in excess, may inhibit the egg whites into forming a foam due to the fat from the oil. They are light, airy and sweet confections. Homemade meringues are often chewy and soft with a crisp exterior, although a uniform crisp texture may be achieved at home, whilst commercial meringues are crisp throughout.