HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN MERINGUE
45 g water (about 1/4 cup)
78 g sugar & 40 g sugar (divided)
140 g egg whites (about 4 large eggs)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the syrup, I pour the water into a pot then add 78 grams of sugar. Heat on medium-high. Once it starts to bubble, carefully whisk it about 2 or 3 turns so the sugar dissolves enough. Don’t splash it or mess with it too much. There is a risk of crystallizing the entire batch.
While the syrup is heating, measure out the egg whites into a stand mixer bowl. Add the cream of tartar and salt to the whites. Attach a whisk attachment. When the syrup reaches 235F, whisk the egg whites on high and while the eggs are beating, add the second part of the sugar (40 g). They should be white and beaten when the syrup reaches 240F. When the syrup is 240F, turn down the whisk speed to low.
Pour the syrup from the pot directly into the bowl. Slowly stream it into the side so it doesn't hit the whisk. The stream can be about as thick as a pencil and pour it quickly enough so that the syrup is still hot. Don't worry about scraping every little last bit from the pot into the mixer. Just pour it and soak the pot in water later. Turn the mixer up on high again and let it run for 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides, add vanilla, and turn it back on high until the meringue cools down to room temperature.
When the meringue is at room temperature, it's ready to top a pie or another dessert (pound cake? a dip for Graham crackers or ginger snaps?)
To bake, preheat the oven to 215F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. This is when you can fold in food coloring, chocolate, or nuts to your meringue. With a plain tip or a star tip, pipe your meringue into cups, disks, a giant 8-inch round, or whatever shape you want. They won't expand much in the oven when they're baked. Depending on the size of the meringue, it may take 60-90 minutes for it to be baked. If you can easily lift the corner of it from the parchment, it's baked. If it's still sticky, it needs some more time.
Stick a wooden spatula or spoon into the oven door and turn off the temperature to slowly release the heat. They’ll crack less (though I do think a few cracks look rustic. Cracks are less ideal when it’s piped artistically).
They're great as cookies. Pair with curd, chocolate, whipped cream, or any of your favorite toppings and enjoy!