Italian meringue - classic sorbet companion
The classic sorbet-companion! The deliberatly 'soft-baked' meringue is whipped into the almost-ready sorbet in order to ensure a nice, light and scoopable consistency even after freezing. I'd say it also seems to add a certain subtle extra depth to the flavour. The recipe will make enough meringue for about 4 batches of sorbet.
NOTE: For a standard batch of sorbet, you would only need about 50-60 grams of Italian meringue (= the rough equivalent of about 1 egg white's worth of meringue/batch). Since it might be difficult to prepare such a small quantity, however, this recipe will make enough meringue for about 4 batches of sorbet (about 200 grams).
  • simple sugar syrup, made up of 60 ml water (1/4 cup) and 150 ml sugar (about 0.6 cup)
  • juice of ½ lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon sugar [for the egg whites, not the sugar syrup]
  1. Place the egg whites in a food processor equipped with a whisk (or the equivalent automated help, unless you prefer to do a LOT of whisking by hand ...) but do not begin any whisking for now.
  2. Instead, cook the simple sugar syrup - mixing the sugar, water and the lemon juice - until all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has reached a temperature of 110° C / 230°F (the so-called Thread-stage).
  3. Now, while continuing to boil the sugar syrup, turn on the food processor and begin whisking the egg whites at high speed, adding a tablespoon of sugar to them.
  4. When the sugar syrup has reached 122° C / 251° F (the so-called Hard-ball stage), it is hot enough to be added to the whipped egg whites (these should have been well whipped into the 'resembles foamy cream stage' by now). Turn down the whisking speed to at least medium and carefully begin drizzling in the hot sugar syrup into the whipped egg whites.
  5. When all the sugar syrup has been added, turn up the whisking speed to maximum again and leave for about 10-15 minutes until the meringue has cooled down somewhat and is ready.
  6. The ready-to-use meringue should resemble firmly whipped cream.
  7. # Using the meringue in sorbets:
  8. Prepare a sorbet base of your choice but reduce the sugar with about as much sugar as will be added through the meringue later (= about 40 ml/ 0.16 cup). Then (for a typical base of about 600-700 ml / 2½-3 cups) add about 50 grams of Italian meringue (= ¼ of your total acquired final meringue) and whisk into the sorbet.
  9. Continue churning the sorbet for a while and/or put the sorbet in a freezer-safe container, cover with plastic film and a lid and store in the freezer.
  10. The Italian meringue will generally improve consistency and smoothness through the stability and retained air it provides, also ensuring improved scoopability even after many hours in the freezer.
  11. If not used immediately, the Italian meringue could be stored in the freezer for later use (pack it like the sorbet!)
The Italian meringue contains also sugar. In order not to end up with a sickeningly sweet sorbet, remember to take that into account when adding sugar to the sorbet per se (i e the sugar syrup used to make up the sorbet, and - for instance- any extra sugar added to included fruits). Typically, you could aim for the same total amount of sugar in the sorbet which you would have used in case you had not added the Italian meringue.