While meringue can understandably feel like a daunting dish, it doesn’t have to be. In this recipe, you’ll not only learn how to make meringue and some common ways to use it, but how to avoid common mistakes and answers to frequently asked meringue questions.
Cracking is a common problem for baked meringues. Often times temperature is the culprit: Either an oven that’s too hot or the meringues experience too abrupt a change in temperature.
If you haven’t calibrated your oven or checked that it’s heating to the correct temperature lately, this is a good place to start.
While each meringue recipe may call for slightly different baking temperatures and times, I like to bake most of my meringue at around 200F. If you’re baking meringue at temperatures higher than this, this may be the reason your meringue is cracking.
Finally, that quick temperature drop that happens as a result of removing your meringue from a hot oven can also lead to cracking. To fix this, turn off your oven when the meringue is done baking and let it cool inside.
Weeping is when a layer of liquid forms under your meringue. This can occur for a few reasons: Undercooking, overcooking or when meringue has been placed on top of a moist treat like pie filling.
To prevent this, make sure you’re following your recipe and cooking it to the point specified. It can also help to add a stabilizer like cream of tartar or corn starch.
If you live in a humid environment, this can also lead to weeping. When possible, try to make meringue on less humid days or keep it somewhere dry.
Grease is a common culprit that keeps meringue from stiffening. Make sure all of your equipment is grease-free and try to avoid plastic utensils and dishes, which can pull and retain grease from previous culinary projects.
When meringue is fully baked, it should easily pull away from baking paper. If it’s sticking, that’s likely a sign that it needs to bake longer.
Meringue is very susceptible to moisture and can wrinkle or look scaly as it absorbs moisture. This can happen when humidity is high or if it’s not baked long enough.
To prevent this, allow the meringue to cool in the oven overnight after baking. Be sure to crack the oven for 10 minutes after turning it off so that no moisture from inside the oven has an opportunity to reabsorb.
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