Meringue: "As Easy as Pie" Meringue

posted by Becky 05-12-100 3:33 PM

'As Easy as Pie' by Susan G. Purdy.

For one 8 inch pie:
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
pinch of salt
4 tbsp. superfine or granulated sugar

For a 9 or 10 inch pie:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
pinch of salt
6 to 8 tbsp. superfine or granulated sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 2 tbsp. at a time, beating a little after each addition. Beat 3 to 5 minutes more, or even 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the number of egg whites used. Beat until the whites are shiny, satiny and hold stiff peaks on the beater when removed and inverted.

Be sure sugar is completely dissolved.

Preheat the oven when you begin beating the egg whites sot he meringue can be applied to the pie and baked as soon as it is completely whipped.

For best results, the entire process should be done as close to serving time as possible.

If you are putting meringue on a hot filling, the heat of the filling poaches the underside of the meringue, preventing it from liquefying. Do not stir a hot pie filling, this allows steam to release and it may condense into a watery layer beneath the meringue.

Mound the meringue onto the center of the pie with a rubber spatula, the spread outward, distributing it evenly to all the edges so that it seals to the rim of the crust. This prevents shrinking during baking.

Set the pie in the preheated (325 or 350) oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until it is just golden.

Cool away from drafts.

Too flat - too much sugar used, - no acid used to stabilize whites (acids are cream of tartar, lemon juice, copper bowl or white vinegar) -meringue cooled in a cold draft

Tough - too much sugar - oven heat too high

Weeps or beads after baking - too much sugar used or sugar undissolved because meringue was not beaten enough. Add a little cornstarch.

Shrinks - Not spread sufficiently to seal around edges - baked in too cool an oven or too hot - cooled too quickly, in a draft perhaps

Meringue is best if made on a dry cool day, rain and humidity will soften it. Keep all utensils extremely clean - a speck of fat (egg yolk) prevents them from beating to full volume.

Plastic bowls are not as likely to be grease free and are not as good to use with meringue.
A wet mixing bowl or beater will prevent the egg whites from foaming properly.

Separate eggs as soon as they come from the refrigerator, the let them sit. The whites will beat up to full volume at room temperature.

Add the salt and cream of tartar just before beating them.

When beating, try to keep the entire mass of whites in constant movement. If egg whites become overbeaten, beat in about 3/4 of one fresh egg white.

Superfine sugar dissolves faster. You may make your own by grinding granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

To check for completely dissolved sugar: pinch some of the meringue between your thumb and forefinger. If it feels grainy, the sugar is not dissolved. If it is smooth, the sugar is dissolved.

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