8021 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63117
Ph: 314-862-COOK (2665)
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Sun 12 to 5 pm

Ask The Chef

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How far ahead can I make a meringue? What is the best way to transport it? I want to take it to a party and put it on the dessert there.

Ken from Miamisburg, Ohio

Well, it all depends on what kind of meringue. There are several kinds. I love serving meringue desserts because they always elicit oohs and aahs, but they are really very easy.

A baked, crusty meringue with a creamy inside (such as vacherin or macaroons) are best eaten within 24 hours of baking. They transport very well, but are not used to top a dessert. A soft meringue browned in the oven (such as the topping for lemon meringue pie), must be eaten within 4 hours or it will start weeping.

The most delicious meringue of all is Italian meringue, which is very stable and will last for 36 hours. Bring the sugar and water to a soft ball stage (148 degrees), then very slowly pour the sugar into whipping whites. The result is a soft meringue that will never weep that is wonderful for topping pies and cakes. This meringue is my favorite topping for lemon meringue pie. I love the caramelized flavor from using brown sugar instead of white sugar.

Italian Meringue Topping

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 egg whites

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar until it reaches 148 degrees. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer, start whipping the egg whites. Very slowly (drop by drop), pour the sugar syrup into the whites and whip until incorporated. Spread on top of any cream or custard pie. If desired, brown the meringue with a torch for a more sensational appearance.