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Meringues cannot be made on a humid day causing it to be limp and sticky. Can be made well ahead and stored airtight at room temperature. Meringue was invented in 1720 by a Swiss Pastry chef called Gasparini.Beating or whisking causes the protein in the egg whites to unfold, forming films that trap the air bubbles, and the sugar stiffens the foam. By varying the amount of sugar in the final mix, you control how hard or soft the final meringue will be. As the mixing time increases, the bubbles become smaller and more numerous; this increases the volume and makes a more-stable structure. (A beaten egg white can increase six to eight times its original volume.)If using a copper bowl do not add cream of tartar. Use superfine sugar so not to get a grity texture in the meringue.
Underbeating introduces too little air, and the batter will rise inadequately. If overbeaten the mixture can separate as well causing the proteins to lose their ability to hold the small air bubbles causing it to lose volume or collapse.MERINGUE PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS:
Preventing problems like Weeping , Beading, Shrinkage, Limp or Soggy Meringue
Heat the filling immediately before pouring it into the pie shell and topping with the meringue. Do not allow the filling to cool down before the meringue has been spread or the pie may weep (moisture) because the cool filling prevents the meringue from baking completely. The meringue will also shrink less.
Cornstarch added to meringue produces tender meringues that are less likely to shrink, bead or weep. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in heated water to whipped egg whites for a hard meringue that cuts smoothly.
For maximum volume, use room temperature egg whites. Begin beating the egg whites slowly, then increasing speed when they are frothy and beating until soft peaks just begin to form. Continue beating, slowly adding the sugar and then the cornstarch mixture. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, this takes a little time. Egg whites are good when the beaters leave ridges in the whites and they are glossy and hold a stiff peak when the beaters are lifted out.
Meringues will also weep if there's any undissolved sugar. First, beat the whites until they form soft peaks, then sprinkle the sugar on top of the whites. Let the whites and sugar sit for 5 minutes--don't stir! You want to dissolve the sugar because any that is undissolved will weep. Then, rebeat them until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over pie filling. Bake as usual.
Beading or moisture droplets happens when water droplets form tiny beads on the surface of the meringue. It's caused by overbaking. When egg whites bake too long, they begin to tighten, squeezing out little drops of moisture. Over-baking produces a tough meringue as well. Also be caused by under- or over-mixing, or too little sugar was used.
Use parchment paper or silpat baking mats. DO NOT grease; fat deflates meringue (beaten egg whites).