With the right technique, Swiss meringue is fluffier than a French meringue made with the same ratio of ingredients, and every bit as stable as its Italian cousin. The trick is to warm the egg whites and sugar over a gently simmering water bath. With toasted sugar, cream of tartar, plenty of salt, and a little vanilla, the finished meringue whips up with lots of flavor, aroma, and a well-balanced sweetness, too. Use it in your favorite recipes for meringue cookies, Swiss buttercream, pavlova, and any meringue-topped pie.
Why It WorksAs light as a cloud.
- Sugar keeps the egg whites' moisture content in check, for a glossy and stable meringue.
- Toasted sugar brings the overall sweetness into balance, adding complexity of flavor.
- Cream of tartar is acidic, adding a counterpoint to the sweetness of the meringue.
- Cooking to 175°F (79°C) ensures that the egg white proteins are coagulated despite the high concentration of sugar, creating a more stable meringue.
- 6 ounces egg whites (2/3 cup; 170g), from 5 to 6 large eggs
- 9 ounces plain or lightly toasted sugar (1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon; 255g) (see note above)
- 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; use half as much if iodized
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Scraped seeds from 1 split vanilla bean (optional)
Fill a wide pot with at least 1 1/2 inches of water, with a thick ring of crumpled tinfoil placed inside to act as a "booster seat." Place over high heat until steaming-hot, then adjust temperature to maintain a gentle simmer. Combine egg whites, sugar, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla seeds (if using) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set over steaming water, stirring and scraping constantly with a flexible spatula, until egg whites hold steady at 175°F (79°C), between 8 and 10 minutes. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip at high speed until meringue is glossy and beginning to ball up inside the whisk, about 5 minutes. Use immediately.