Can you safely torch a meringue topping instead of baking it


I want to make a butterscotch pudding and chill it in ramekins. Since the pudding calls for egg yolks, I thought of making the whites into a meringue topping. If I do that, can I brown the topping with a kitchen torch instead of baking all the puddings in the oven? Or is the baking necessary (e.g., for safety)?

Best Answer

Yes you can - if you make the right kind of meringue.

There are three types that vary in the preparation process:

  • French (or classic) meringue
    Where egg whites are simply beaten with fine sugar.
  • Swiss meringue
    Where the egg & sugar is beaten over a water bath.
  • Italian meringue
    Where the whites are beaten first and a steady stream of hot sugar syrup is then slowly added while continuing to whip.

The former two are often considered “easier”, but only the latter will result in a meringue that is safe to eat without an additional baking or cooking step. And torching a meringue is merely decorative.