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General Meringue Questions


Sararwelch
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I am planning to make a lemon meringue pie. Instead of the standard meringue made by adding sugar to beaten egg whites, I wanted to do a cooked meringue. I've seen different recipes that call for different techniques - some cook the meringue over a double boiler, others heat a sugar syrup and stream it into the egg whites.

Does it matter what technique I use? I was thinking about using the meringue recipe that is in my Mustards Napa Valley cookbook, which calls for heating brown sugar and water to 245 degrees and pouring it into the egg whites. I would prefer not to do brown sugar, could I substitute an equal amount of white sugar?

Any other recipes or tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

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I've done an Italian meringue before for a lemon tart and it was quite lovely. The drizzling in of the sugar syrup definitely heats the egg whites enough to cook them. I like the Italian meringue because the final product has a glossy finish to them.

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I make Swiss meringue for key lime and lemon pies. I use double the amount of sugar as egg whites (1 cup whites to 2 cups sugar) with a pinch of salt and stir in a baine marie until it is very hot. Almost too hot to put your finger in. It will begin to thicken and look a little like mucus at the edges of the bowl. Then I put it in my Kitchen Aid and whip on high until thick and cool. Place on the pie as usual and bake until browned. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate. This always lasts a few days before weeping out.

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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French Meringue (just whipping the sugar and egg whites) is supposed to be the biggest volume, but the least stable. Italian Meringue (adding softball sugar to the whipping whites) is supposed to be the least volume but the most stable. Swiss Meringue (whipping the sugar and egg whites over a bain marie until 160) is in the middle. I like the swiss for pies and tarts myself. It comes out shiney and it's easier than dealing with the softball sugar and you get the comfort of "cooking" the egg whites.

Cheri

Edited by cheripie (log)

www.cheri-pie.com

Life is too short. Eat good chocolate.

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Thanks for the tips - is there a taste or texture difference between the swiss and italian? I'm tempted to try them both out and see which one I prefer.

i think italian meringue is a bit creamier, but it also depends on how much sugar you add to either one of them. and you're not 'cooking' the egg whites over the bain marie...more like pasteurizing them (140-160F). if you're just going to brown the top of the meringue after topping the pie, then it might be better to do swiss meringue if you're at all concerned about salmonella (rare, but it could happen). even with the hot syrup being added when making italian meringue, i don't think the syrup can sustain a high temperature long enough to pasteurize the egg whites after being added unless you're making a huge amount.

edited to add: there's no taste difference, but you can always add a splash of vanilla extract or something (very finely minced candied lemon peel!) to the meringue at the end of mixing if you'd like to do more than be sweet and a textural contrast to the pie itself.

Edited by alanamoana (log)
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All this meringue talk reminded me of my favorite birthday cake as a child.

Old fashioned chocolate cake with boiled icing (which I believe is another way of saying Italian meringue) drizzled with melted chocolate.

Now that I've been reminded, I'm going to have to get my mom's recipes for it.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Here's a very foolproof safe meringue from Alice Medrich. It's very stable and can even be frozen!

2T + 2 tsp water

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

8 oz egg whites

6oz (1 cup) sugar

Mix all ingredients over bain marie. Stir occasionally (to avoid the whites cooking) until mixtures hits 160degrees. Pour mixture into stand mixture and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over whatever.*

*I've read that for lemon meringue, it's best to put the meringue over the HOT lemon filling, but I haven't found that to be necessary with this meringue.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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  • 6 months later...

I want to create a meringue cap on a desssert, and its important for the meringue to be perfectly shaped. I want to do a really creamy Italian meringue, and was going to pipe it into a silcone form - can I freeze it so I can pop it out? Has anyone ever done this?

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Rob, in order to get that really creamy almost marshmallow-y texture in italian meringue, there has to be a large amount of sugar to egg white. the sugar will prevent the italian meringue from setting up in the freezer enough for you to pop out of a mold. remember, with sorbets and ice creams, the higher the level of sugar, the softer it is when frozen.

so, i don't know if you'll get a really clean look.

if you do, post pics and let us know how you did it!

this is the kind of meringue used in baked alaska...when frozen, it is still very soft.

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  • 1 month later...

Anywho, I wanted to recreate a childhood favorite of mine, a mint meringue kiss with chocolate chips. My cousin made them every holiday. Last year I attempted Martha's meringue kisses and had total failure (just 3 egg whites, 2 TB sugar, and food coloring).

Last night I tried this recipe.

I ended up with tasty meringues of the perfect texture, but they were all cracked and bubbly, like so:

brokenkisses.jpg

Could timing be an issue? My husband needed me to find a print cartridge just as I was ready to pipe, so they waited a minute or two. My first piping tip was a mess so I also had to squeeze the mixture into a new piping bag and try again.

I would really like to make these for a cookie exchange but want prettier meringues. Can anyone help?

"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

--

food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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i think you're correct when it comes to timing. the longer a meringue sits before it goes into the oven, the more likely you're going to have some break down occur in the air bubble structure. also, the changing of the bags/tips caused some deflation. all of that makes for a separation in the sugar and egg white mixture.

it also looks like an awful lot of sugar (1C to three whites) for the recipe. i think you'll be better served with something that is in between this recipe and martha's with regard to sugar content.

...why can't men find anything in the house on their own? :wacko:

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And why must they always need to find it right in the middle of an important baking step!? Oh well, if it weren't him, it would be the dog begging to go out as I'm waiting for the last few degrees on the candy thermometer. Never fails!

I actually just found a Martha recipe for a chocolate chip meringue so I think I'll try that one while hubby is still at school for another hour! This one still has a cup of sugar, but adds another egg white.

"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

--

food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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One time at school, the chef told the entire class he'd bake our French Meringue for us. They all turned out cracked like this. He told us what happened was he turned the oven temperature up to try and speed things up. He told us it is important to bake French meringue at 200˚F for several hours (often we would leave them overnight), rather than 225-250˚ for a shorter time. Could that have something to do with it?

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If you only let the meringue sit for a few minutes, I don't think that's the culprit. Otherwise, when piping large batches of meringue, the last tray piped would always be "off" as the batter would be then have been sitting for a few (or more) minutes, and my experience does not bear this out.

To me, this looks like an issue of un-dissolved sugar in the meringue batter. Either that, or when folding in the flavorings and chips, you knocked too much air out of the meringue.

Lastly, humidity can always wreak havoc with meringues. Are you in high humidity currently?

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Nah, pretty darned dry here right now. (Well, other than the eight inches of snow!)

I tried the different recipe and found it beat up to a much fluffier consistency. I also baked them at 200 instead of 225. They seem to have turned out much better and much prettier, success!

And on the plus side, the ugly ones still taste great so...oh darn, can't send them away but will have to eat them!

"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

--

food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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Just out of curiosity, what's the perfect texture? Completely dry but not hard?

My standard dry meringue cookie is 1/4 cup of sugar for each large egg white and a pinch of salt. Some vanilla or other extract. Bake at 200 degrees for at least 2 hours.

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Just out of curiosity, what's the perfect texture? Completely dry but not hard?

My standard dry meringue cookie is 1/4 cup of sugar for each large egg white and a pinch of salt. Some vanilla or other extract.  Bake at 200 degrees for at least 2 hours.

For me at least, the perfect texture is dry but airy, so they almost melt on your tongue, or crumble to powder if you bite.

I'm just ecstatic at having made a successful and attractive batch. I tried the first Martha recipe three times last Christmas!

"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

--

food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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