Adventures in Eating: Meringue

In case you hadn’t heard, spring is here! That means, berries and lus­cious summer fruits are not far be­hind. Although, these days, seasons are all mixed up with fruits out of sea­son coming from south of the border orchards. Personally, I consciously refuse to purchase these fruits, be­cause my head tells me they belong to summer.

Meringue is a wonderful partner with ice cream and berries or fruits, or just fruit alone. There is a trick to making savory meringue, and perhaps we can be of help. Do know, there are critical axioms that must be fol­lowed, or failure is certain.

1.)        Make sure your bowl is clean and dry.
2.)        No yolks must be present in your egg whites, when you separate them.
3.)        Egg whites must be at room tem­perature.
4.)        Try and use a copper, glass or stainless steel bowl. NOT PLASTIC.
5.)        Do not overbeat the egg whites, as they will separate into water and dry, grainy lumps.
6.)        Make your own super refined sug­ar.

BASIC MERINGUE

4 egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (acid)
1 cup refined sugar

Put sugar in a blender or food proces­sor and whirl until it is refined from its original state. Place in a bowl. Beat egg whites until frothy at full speed (about 30 seconds). Sift cream of tartar through a small strainer onto a piece of wax paper. Add to frothy egg whites. Beat 30 more seconds. Now start adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Don’t wait too long between ad­ditions, as you may wind up beating the egg whites too long. Taste your egg whites, no grainy sugar texture should remain. When you lift your beater, the egg whites should not droop, but softly peak. If it is shiny and hard, you have overbeaten, and your meringues will not bake proper­ly. Lightly grease and flour 2 baking sheets. Using a circle the size of me­ringue you desire, draw it on the flour. With your spatula, spread the bottom of the circle, then form a rim with more meringue, or use a pastry bag to pipe a rim. This recipe will make at least 8-12 individual merin­gus shells. Bake the meringues at 225-250 degrees 10-25 minutes de­pending on the size you make. They will be white, but crispy. Leave them in the oven, with the door ajar, until oven and shells are cool. You can even leave them there until the next day. GOOD LUCK. Will keep days in Tupperware. Don’t forget rhubarb sauce with this. NO CHOLESTE­ROL TOO…

by Rosemarie

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