this has been asked so many times! try entering 'weeping meringue' into the 52 search for hotline, and google if needed.
baker2, sorry, i had no intention of being snide. what i really wanted to say was, "oh yes, someone had a really great detailed explanation for this recently. wish i had time to link it."
Could you go here please :3
I am going to check this out. Thank You
No offense taken, LE BEC FIN. I have searched on line, and asked many times, but still can't solve this. I have high hopes with FOOD 52 that some of my questions may be answered.
o.k. baker2, here you go. knock yourself out! then will you plse explain it to me? cuz my brain shuts down when explanations get chemical sometimes....:
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
Most of those links don't really discuss weeping.
Until the real bakers get here... most of those links don't seem to answer the question. My understanding is that meringues can weep as a result of underbeating, overbeating, insufficient dissolving of the sugar into the egg whites, too hot an oven, and too cool an oven. Weeping from the bottom can be a problem if it causes the meringue to slip off the lemon filling. But little beads of meringue transport me back to childhood--I thought they were like nectar.
Thanks Chris. That's my best answer. I have tried many of the suggestions that ran me in circles. Sometimes you have to accept what is. My meringue weeps. So be it. Would Julia agree? Probably not. But I am moving on to bigger problems.
Ljalex: How do I keep the meringue from shrinking on top of my lemon meringue pie? Also, how do I keep it from weeping?
AltonBrown: Meringue is voodoo! I'm going to start with the weeping part first. A lot of people assume it's caused by humidity. It's not. It's from overcooking. The key is first to be very gentle with the meringue. It needs to be folded together very gently, with one-and-a-half tablespoons of sugar per egg white. I use my copper bowl to beat the egg whites, because I believe it adds extra stability. I also tend to sprinkle just a bit of cornstarch into the egg whites before I start to beat them. I try to make sure my filling and my meringue are at the same temperature before I put one on top of the other. I always use a filling that's also been stabilized with cornstarch. Then just be careful not to overbake. Overbaking causes the shrinkage and the weeping. If you're looking for color on top of the meringue, you can always hit it with a blowtorch after it comes out of the oven. But it's not a good idea to overbake the pie just to get the color.
This is Alton Brown's explanation.
What Brown said about making sure the filling and meringue are the same temp before they go together is key.
Shuna is a pastry chef in New York City and author of the acclaimed blog Eggbeater.
As stated previously, deflating/weeping/collapsing meringue has many causes.
First, let's discuss meringue. Start with old, ROOM TEMP egg whites. Separate your eggs a week before you need the whites. Keep them in a non-reactive, tightly lidded container, on your kitchen counter for a week before using them. (Old world French chefs have been known to keep them for a month.)
On the mixer: MAKE SURE THE BOWL, THE WHISK, YOUR HANDS - EVERYTHING THAT TOUCHES EGG WHITES MUST BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAN AND DRY. [Meringue will NOT happen if any fat residue is on any surface that touches whites. That includes hand lotion!] Start with the slowest speed possible. Add a dash of lemon juice &/or cream of tartar &/or salt. Increase speed every few minutes (at least 3, not more than 6 is fine), until whites are frothy top to bottom. Increase speed & sprinkle in sugar as if sowing seeds - do not dump sugar in to one spot.
Whip ONLY until meringue gloss is reached and when you pull out whisk, meringue JUST FLOPS LAZILY. At this point I like to beat maybe one more minute, sometimes vigorously by hand.
MERINGUE WAIT FOR NO ONE, NOTHING, EVER.
You must use it IMMEDIATELY.
Yes, the temp of the curd should be warm or room temp when the pie enters the oven. This way it all bakes quickly, and evenly.
I have never made a curd with cornstarch. There's no need - eggs coagulate to form the structure of it. Once curd is set, do not stir - the "set" is delicate. Alton Brown is great at a lot of things, but he is no baker. His tricks are silly and cowardly and uninformed. If you understand egg whites, you understand meringue. And if you can master meringue, a whole world of dessert preparations open up to you!
For absolute fail-proof meringue, the "Swiss Method" is best. Whisk into a heat proof bowl: egg whites and sugar. 1 part whites to 1.5 parts sugar, by weight will do, but so will 1:1 & 1:2
Heat a pot with about 2-3 inches of water. Place the bowl over it so bottom isn't touching water, turn heat down. Whisk CONSTANTLY & VIGOROUSLY until sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk by machine at high speed until meringue gloss & consistency is reached and bowl is room temp, but not "cold."
Yes, do not leave pie/tart in oven longer than it needs to be. An over-baked curd & meringue will taste & feel awful.
Meringue weeps because whites are usually cold, over-beaten and/or do not have enough sugar to bind them. Egg whites are tricky, pesky, and prissy. If you are not ready to use meringue THE MINUTE IT IS READY, it will start to separate. Swiss meringue is more stable than French (the former method.)
Me personally, I would rather bake my curd tart separately, and pipe/dollop meringue on after, and then maybe torch it with a hand held blow torch. It's hard to see what the curd is doing with meringue on top of it, and curd is a custard, and custards are also very particular.
Thanks for the master class, Shuna. I knew a real backer would show up.
Thank you Shuna for the time and energy expended, to enlighten and educate me and many others regarding this problem. By the way, I agree with you regarding Alton Brown.
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