Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"It's okay, honey, everyone has that problem every once in awhile..."

Yes, my meringues fell flat (well, almost), last night. This is a source of frustration for me. The first batch I ever made, besides being too small, was sticky, chewy and lacked the airy texture that defines a good meringue. The second batch, well, they were mini Frisbees, full of crunch, but flat, flat, flat. Genevieve and I thought that, maybe, it was that I wasn't beating the egg whites enough. In fear of going past the point of no return (where egg whites go from "stiff peaks" to clumps of goo), perhaps I was being too careful. So, this past time, I beat them more, until the whites were stiff enough to form sharp peaks. Still, after a bit in the oven, they fell. Not as flat as last time, but with decidedly less mass than they started. Now I am left with few variables to play with:

  • Temperature. Most recipes, including the one in Joy of Cooking, quote 225 degrees. Unfortunately, my oven only goes down to 250 and any attempts to measure something lower have been unsuccessful.
  • Time. Though the Cooking Light recipe I've gone by uses a time of 2 hours or so, I've found that many other recipes list less time (Joy of Cooking gives me 1 hour). Perhaps the long cooking time is doing them in?
  • Movement. Maybe I need to leave them alone more? Not check them until I am pretty sure they are done. Avoid doing an Irish Jig in the kitchen?

So, I am stuck.
Any tips from my readers out there?

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