Vinegar Is The Key To Perfectly Spiked Meringue Peaks On Baked Alaska

The challenge to achieve a baked Alaska with spiked meringue peaks is a reality for many bakers. Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this problem using vinegar. With the power of every household's most prized aide, you can go from deflated meringue tips to majestic peaks, and you won't have to go out of your way or budget to achieve them.

Meringue is essentially made with two ingredients: egg whites and sugar. To transform this watery mix into a towering display of white peaks, you'll need to whip it with an acidic element, such as vinegar. Vinegar is the hero that prevents the overbeating of egg whites by making them stable and firm. So, if you add a bit to your egg whites, about 2 teaspoons per 1 cup of egg whites, you can avoid meringue mistakes such as lumpy, lifeless peaks forever.

One tip to set your meringue up for success is to swipe your mixing bowl and whisk attachment with vinegar. This ensures that there's no fat residue interfering with the beating process since fat is our foe when seeking stiff peaks. On that note, be sure to separate your egg whites from the yolks carefully, as any trace of the yellow substance may result in less air during the whipping process and, therefore, floppy peaks.

Other acids for firm peaks

If you're out of vinegar, you can rely on alternatives like cream of tartar or lemon juice. These acidic elements are just as effective at helping you achieve spiked meringue peaks. To put this into practice, you can try replacing vinegar with the same amount of lemon juice. If you start with one egg white, use ½ teaspoon of lemon juice to stabilize your egg whites and firm up your meringue.

When using cream of tartar in place of vinegar, you'll have to slightly adjust the measurements. For example, to replace 2 teaspoons of vinegar, you can use ½ teaspoon cream of tartar — and you can use ⅛ teaspoon for every egg white. Cream of tartar's chemical reaction with egg whites is similar to that of vinegar, so you can expect nothing less than firm, flawless crowns on top of your baked Alaska.

As far as acids go, vinegar, lemon juice, and cream of tartar are by far the most popular ones, with citric acid a close favorite for its textural integrity. Whichever you decide to use, stick to the tried formulas for upright results that stand out once you toast your meringue and are ready to serve a beautiful baked Alaska.