« back to encyclopedia search results
Egg Whites, Whipping
A way of aerating egg whites to lighten cakes, make meringues etc.
The beating of egg whites wasn"t easy before the fork came into common use late in the 17th century. Even then, forks only had two prongs.
At the beginning of that century Sir Hugh Platt described some methods of his own day.
"How to break egg whites speedily. A fig or two shred in pieces and then beaten amongst the whites with a stubbed rod, and some by wringing tem often through a sponge".
A 1655 recipe for "cream with snow" suggested a cleft stick, or a bundle of reeds tied together, and roll between your hands standing upright in your cream".
In Italy, macaroons and similar almond cakes were raised with their help. Then at the turn of the 19th century a still lighter creation was introduced from France, in which the proportion of frothed egg white to sugar was greatly increased - its name remains unaltered as meringue. See "Macaroons"