Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Tip: How to Make Meringue

Ahhh meringue!!!  This dessert used to be incredibly popular, but not so much today.  However, when making deliciously light cookies, merignue is my go-to choice.  It's also great for pie topping (you know--those sky-high white toppings with browned edges?  That's meringue!).  Meringue is fairly simple; although, it's one of those recipes that need your undivided attention and patience.

{Stiff Meringue}

Sweetened Meringue (stiff peaks)

Makes 2 cups

3 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar (or 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar--this sugar will be a bit grittier)
Dash of salt
  1. Make sure that the mixer and bowl you are using is clean and dry.
  2. If the bowl is metal, fill a sink with hot water and place the bowl in the water.  The most important part of making a meringue is to make sure everything is warm--it helps the process.
  3. Begin whipping the egg whites on a medium-high speed.
  4. Egg whites will go through different stages of foaminess.  When it is white and foamy, add sugar and salt in same quantities until incorporated.
  5. Continue whipping egg whites on medium-high speed until it is solid white, shiny and the beaters are leaving streaks in the meringue. 
  6. Depending on the stiffness you need (soft, medium, or stiff) you will need to begin checking the meringue.  There is no magic time (unfortunately).  To check, stir the meringue with the beaters and center them in the bowl.  Pull the beaters straight up slowly.  If the "peak" mostly folds over that is a soft peak; if it kinda folds over that is a medium peak; if it hardly folds over it is a stiff peak. (see photos)
  7. Whenever desired peak is reached, use the meringue however your recipe states. 
  8. To make cookies, reach a stiff peak, drop onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake for 20-30 minutes at 300 or until they dry out (cookies should still be white not golden or brown) 
{Egg whites}

{Filling sink with warm water}

{Place bowl in warm water for about 1 minute.  Alternatively, if you have a free-standing mixer, then place your hands on the bottom of the bowl to keep it warm}

{This is foam stage 1--bubbly and yellowy)

{This is foam stage 2--bubbly and white.  Add sugar and salt here}

{After sugar and salt are incorporated, the meringue will start to get shiny which is good}

{See how the beater is leaving streaks--now you will need to check it every so often depending on the peak you are trying to achieve}

{To check peak stage--stir meringue with beater and center beater in bowl}

{Slowly pull straight up.  The "peak" mostly folded over so this is a "soft peak" stage} 

{This is the "stiff peak" stage}

If your meringue gets clumpy and watery--I'm sorry to say that you have went too far and broke it.  You cannot fix a meringue once it is broken.  You will have to throw it out and start over!

Start practicing!  I have some meringue-based cookies that I will be making and presenting to you!

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