Tim Tam cookies are the star of this oh-so Australian Pavlova. Farideh Sadeghin
Whether your tendency as a cook leans more towards zabaglione, Hollandaise, or salt-cured yolks—or all three—there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself with a few extra egg whites in the ice box at one point or another. And while there’s a time and a place for a virtuous egg white omelette (Pro tip: Go heavy-handed with the heavy cream), there’s no reason to restrict those eggy underdogs to the breakfast table.
Egg whites require little more than a scoop of sugar to whip up into a bouffant of fluffy meringue. On its own, the substance is a purely magical thing. Piled high atop a layer of puckery lemon curd—or folded right into fruity custard for an ethereal chiffon—sweet meringue is a source of levity on dessert menus dominated by heavier confections. When wrapped around ice cream for baked Alaska, set aflame tableside, meringue lends a retro, all-too-lacking note of dining room drama.
Meringue is also the base for luxurious Swiss and Italian buttercreams—among the most elegant ways to coat a cake—as well as the dessert world’s photogenic Instagram darling, the Pavlova. It’s the “îles” in îles flotant (and the “oeufs” in oeufs à la neige). Some even consider it the fluffy crown of shaken, egg-white cocktails like New Orleans’ Ramos gin fizz. However you whip (or shake) them, egg whites are a valuable ingredient, worth saving for any one of these, our very best meringue recipes.
Sprinkled on top of these delicate meringues—which float in a vanilla custard—are praline roses, caramel-coated almonds dyed a bright pink. The color’s a bit shocking, but they’re a staple of Lyonnaise pâtisseries and lend a nice crunch and color to this white-on-white backdrop. Get the recipe for Meringue Floating in Crème Anglaise »Matt Taylor-Gross
This classic meringue from San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Creamery can be used as-is for a gooey, marshmallow-fluff-like topping or lightly brûléed with a torch for a toasty, s’mores-style shell. To ensure an airy, voluminous meringue, make sure your bowl and whisk are wiped clean and the whites aren’t ice-cold—room temperature is ideal. Matt Taylor-Gross
The rich, light-as-air frosting known as Italian buttercream starts with an Italian meringue. The fluffy egg white mixture creates a stable frosting with a silky texture that’s perfect for icing cakes and for filling macarons. Farideh Sadeghin
This striking Southern dessert, with its three rose-water infused layers and Italian meringue frosting studded with pecans, raisins, dried figs, and candied orange peel, seems born for elegant tea parties. Andre Baranowski
The key to a successful pavlova is patience: Allow the meringue to cool completely before transferring it to the plate or cake stand. You’ll prevent any crumbling that can occur when the process is rushed. Get the recipe for Pavlova »Dave Lieberman