December 20, 2019

Apple Cider Meringue

The most perfect pie topping: a smooth meringue made out of fresh apple cider juice, seasoned with vanilla and cinnamon.

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Egg whites, sugar and fresh apple cider whipped into a giant cloud for the silkiest most lush pie topping ever. Sweetened with cinnamon and fresh vanilla beans this is pumpkin pie’s best friend. 

 

 

This meringue… guys, THIS MERINGUE!

Before I got into the confectionary business (read: made 10 different varieties of marshmallows for christmas gifts last year lol) meringues always sounded super intimidating. But the truth is, for an Italian meringue the most important thing is knowing when to stop whipping. Stiff peaks is when you take the whisk out and the shape holds – that’s it. And yeah, it takes longer than you think, but just keep watch and check it now and then by removing the whisk and holding it upside down – if the meringue flops, it needs to keep going.

The other part to get right for this recipe is the ‘candying’; getting the sugar/juice to soft ball stage. This is the same as you would do for marshmallows. Luckily, a candy thermometer will do the work for you here.

 

 

Apple Cider Meringue Topping for Pumpkin Pie

I first saw the technique of using a candied sugar & juice here at Saveur to make a meringue. This opened up a world of possibilities – bland meringues be gone! It’s cider sweet but also a bit tart. Some cinnamon and vanilla round out a lovely seasonal taste. It’s INCREDIBLY fluffy. You won’t have to worry about any grainy bits because the sugar is melted before it’s added to the egg whites. It’s like a giant marshmallow but BETTER… and ok – it may be the meringue form of these and that’s no bad thing. I made it to top our thanksgiving pumpkin pie and honestly, I can’t see myself making anything else for a pie from here on.

 

Notes on making apple cider meringue

  • A candy thermometer is essential here, it takes the guesswork out of knowing when the sugar has reached soft ball stage. Here is the one I have.
  • Modify the spices to your taste, adding more cinnamon, maybe some nutmeg and ginger too if you like. The spices are added toward the end so you’ll add them while the meringue is whisking, keep tasting to see where you like it.
  • I find egg whites easier to whip at room temperature but easier to separate from the yolks when cold. An hour before you plan to make the meringue, separate the whites and yolks and leave the whites at room temperature.
  • Leftover yolks? Here’s one of my most popular cookie recipes from the blog you can make!
  • Absolutely yes torch this (either with a kitchen torch or in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes) for a toasty, marshmallowy taste.
  • This can be made ahead of time – up to 24 hours, store in the fridge, uncovered.

 

Recipe for Apple Cider Meringue

Note: the meringue shown was actually 1.5x the amount listed below, so 6 egg whites and 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cups cider. As much as I loved it I think the recipe I’ve listed below is more practical. It’ll still be more than enough to top your pie!

Apple Cider Meringue

Egg whites, sugar and fresh apple cider whipped into a giant cloud for the silkiest most lush pie topping ever. Sweetened with cinnamon and fresh vanilla beans this is pumpkin pie’s best friend. 
apple cider meringue
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
5 from 11 votes

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar 220g
  • ½ cup fresh apple cider
  • ½-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • seeds of 1 scraped vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Method

  • In a small saucepan, begin cooking the sugar and cider on medium high. Clip a candy thermometer to the pot.
  • Meanwhile, begin whipping the egg whites in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or use a hand mixer.
  • When the sugar reaches 250, remove it from heat and pour into heatproof container (like a mason jar).
  • When egg whites are starting to form soft peaks, pour in the sugar mixture while the mixer whips.
  • Add cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
  • Continue whipping until you have stiff peaks, ie. when you lift the whisk, the meringue should hold its shape.
  • Immediately spread (or pile!) onto pie. Place in the fridge to just set. Torch before serving.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    Had some boiled cider and egg whites that needed to get used up, so I decided to try my hand at this recipe — it is so delicious! I diluted my boiled cider back to regular cider consistency (since I reduced it myself, I knew how much water needed to be added back in), and it worked great. Since I didn’t have a pie or other dessert to top with the meringue, I baked it into cookies, following the instructions on the Oreo meringue cookie recipe. The texture of the cookies didn’t come out quite right – a little tacky on the outside, and the middle became gummy when I ate it – but I’m not convinced the issue wasn’t my oven and/or the fact that it was stupid humid that day. I will have do some more reading on meringue cookies and try again!

  2. 5 stars
    Totally dreamy meringue! I used it to top a pumpkin pie and even torched the top to make it all toasty.

    I would recommend using a medium sized sauce pan. My small one was too small for lowball stage and I had to do a little bit of sugar cleanup on my stove.

    • I second this comment! I recommend 2-2.5 QT for this recipe. I used a 2QT pan and was oh so close to having to having a sugar mess on my stove. However, much bigger than that and the bulb of the candy thermometer would likely not submerge far enough into the syrup.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this to top a phyllo dough 5 spice pumpkin pie (Martha Stewart) and it was absolutely delicious. I made it just like the recipe above but I think when I make it again I’ll add more spice like suggested in the cooks notes. Mine was a touch sweet most likely because my cider was too sweet. Pick a good spiced cider! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    • 5 stars
      This meringue is a dream! I used on my
      Spiced pumpkin pie this year and it was a hit! It’s so smooth and creamy and not too sweet- the most subtle apple flavor! Cannot wait to try it again!!!

  4. 5 stars
    Oh man! It’s. Just. So. Good.
    I was intimidated for my first meringue but the steps were simple and clear. And it is just fluffy fall-time goodness.
    Took it slow and piped pillow-y spirals on mini pumpkin pies.

  5. 5 stars
    Make this meringue! Delicious, pillowy, fall goodness. Took me like 10 minutes from start to finish. I actually didn’t take mine to 250, I took it to about 240 bc that’s what my candy thermometer had listed for softball stage and it worked beautifully. Great was to fancy up a store bought pie.

  6. 5 stars
    This was a showstopper! I made the apple crumb pie recipe from the Pie and Pastry Bible, topped the pie with the meringue straight from the oven, put it back in and baked it for 5 minutes before broiling it for less than a minute to crisp it up. The combination of apple pie, a layer of crunchy nut/crumb topping and then this meringue may be the best thing I have ever made or eaten!!

    • 5 stars
      Shoutout to Molly above for giving me the idea to make an apple crumb pie; I had leftover apples and the crunchy crumb + pillowy meringue sounded like a delightful pairing.

      THIS MERINGE IS SO TASTY. Whisk-lickin good—it was like eating an apple cider marshmallow

      For sure making this again, it is indeed such a showstopper.

  7. Hi, what is the pie it is on here pictured? that crust looks perfect for it. Do you have the recipe for that anywhere ? ta!

      • Thank you!! But how do you know when to pour the mixture into the egg whites? You say to let it cool down in the glass jar, but to what temperature does the syrup need to be to add into the egg whites? I’m scared if it’s too warm it’ll cook the whites 🙁

        • Ah!! Thank you. That makes sense, I’m sorry. I thought it needed to cool in the jar to a certain temp… I’ll see myself out 🤦🏼‍♀️ Can’t wait to try this!

  8. 5 stars
    Genius. It’s auch a simple idea – replace sugar and water with apple cider, but of course it came from you.

    If you haven’t tried this yet, you should. I used it to top a cranberry tart and it was divine.