The Perfect Meringue
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Many prefer the light, sweet meringue topping over a regular crust topping. The most common problems cooks run into with their meringue toppings are beading, weeping and shrinking.
- Beading occurs when the formation of water droplets occur on the surface of the meringue. The main cause of this is overcooking.
- Weeping is a loss of water between the meringue and the pie filling itself and is caused by undercooking.
- Shrinking is a loss of volume during baking. With a few tricks of the kitchen, you can produce a beautiful meringue topping.
Meringue Success Tips
Always use a clean, dry bowl to beat your meringue. Glass, ceramic, stainless steel and copper bowls are fine but avoid the use of plastic bowls as even if they are clean in appearance, they have a tendency to hang onto trace amounts of oil.
Be sure absolutely no yolk gets into your egg whites during separation. Even a tiny amount of yolk will ruin your meringue.
Meringues include the use of a stabilzer such as cream of tartar, white vinegar or lemon juice. Most recipes will add 1/8-teaspoon of one of these per egg white to the unbeaten eggs. Note: In a copper bowl, the use of cream of tartar is not necessary.
Whip your whites to medium-soft peaks. Beat in 2-tablespoons of white sugar per egg white. Beat until the whites are glossy and hold a firm peak. If you find you have a shrinking problem with your meringue, use a mixture of cornstarch and water. Heat it to form a gel and beat gradually into your meringue.
Spread your meringue over your piping hot filling and spread to the edges of the pie to seal. It is important your filling is hot as this cooks your meringue through to the inside. This also prevents weeping. You can also sprinkle cake crumbs lightly over your pie filling to absorb liquid between the layers as a prevention against weeping.
The preferred baking method is one that combines high temperatures with a short baking time. This prevents overcooking the outside and avoids beading. Bake at 425-degrees for four to five minutes.
Spice up your meringue by adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the sugar when making the meringue.
Angel Meringue Recipe
A simple but tasty recipe for angel meringues. Light, airy and sweet.
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons honey
Beat egg whites until light and frothy, add cream of tartar and continue beating until whites are stiff. Gradually add the honey and beat until glossy. Pile meringue onto cooled pie, spreading until it touches the edges of crust. Bake in preheated hot oven (425-degrees) five to six minutes.
Angel Cloud Cookies
Angel Cloud Cookies are a meringue cookie recipe with a sweet citrus addition of orange flavoring. This is a diabetic-friendly recipe.
3 egg whites beaten stiff
2 tablespoons granulated sugar replacement or granulated fructose
2 teaspoons orange oil (or your favorite oil)
1 teaspoon orange rind (grated)
Beat sugar replacement, orange oil and rind into the stiff egg whites. Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 325-degrees for eight to ten minutes. Remove from pan immediately.
Exchange: Six cookies with sugar replacement: Negligible
Calories: Six cookies with sugar replacement: 10
Exchange: Six cookies with fructose, 1/5 fruit
Calories: Six cookies with fructose, 22
Meringue Kisses Recipe
Fluffy and light biscuit recipe using yeast for texture and buttermilk for tenderness.
2 egg whites; room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In medium bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and salt. Beat on high speed until stiff; beat in sugar 1-tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla; fold in chocolate chips.
Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Place in oven. Turn oven off; leave cookies in oven five hours. Recipe makes 12 dozen meringue cookies.
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