The airy topping doesn't have to be scary.

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Simple Vanilla Meringue
Photography by Caitlin Bensel
| Credit: Photography by Caitlin Bensel

Dressing up pies with poofy meringue is nothing new. But the luscious, airy topping can  also bring a fluffy fanciness to lots of other foods. Add a few heaping spoonfuls to  ripe halved fresh peaches or apricots, fudgy brownies, fruity sorbet, or chocolate pudding.  Or make mornings sweeter by topping mixed berries, pancakes, crepes, or waffles  with a dollop or two. Start with our basic recipe (plus tips!), then swoop and swirl away!

Cut the Fat

Fat (oily bowls, egg yolks)  is the enemy of fluffy  meringue. Make sure your  mixing bowl is extra clean,  then separate the whites  into a small bowl before  adding them to the mixing  bowl. That way, if you break  a yolk you can try again.

Add Some Acid

Just a touch of acid will  help stabilize your meringue,  making it less likely to  separate, deflate, or weep  (yep, it's as sad as it sounds).  Our go-to is cream of tartar,  a fine white powder that comes  from the acid found inside wine  barrels. All you need is a pinch.

Slow Down, Sugar

Beyond adding sweetness,  sugar also helps the  egg whites beat up into  gorgeous, glossy peaks,  but if you add it too quickly  you could end up with  a grainy mess. Sprinkle  it in slowly, giving it time  to dissolve.

Recipe: Try our Simple Vanilla Meringue

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2020 issue. Get the magazine here.