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hard to know, but there are a lot of factors that can affect meringue. Humidity is a big one - if it is humid where you are, it may take a lot longer. Also, could be over temperature. Have you checked yours?
I agree with jwolf. The weather can really affect meringues. Summer weather, unless you are under a nice high pressure front, can make them chewy, stick-to-your-teeth, even gloppy! For that reason, I usually favor cooler or drier weather for making meringues.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Humidity of any kind sure can make them sticky. How long did you dry them and at what temp?
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
In addition to humidity, were the whites beaten to stiff peaks? I like to add a pinch of salt to the egg whites--it helps them hold their shape so they come out crunchy. Also, how does your oven run? If it runs cool, the meringues just may not have dried out completely.
The thing with meringue is that it must cook slowly,in low heat - and it helps if you leave the oven door a bit opened.If yours shuts by itself put a wooden spoon to leave a gap.And drbabs has a point:stiff peaks are important.Also,the sugar has to be superfine or made into a syrup,and then poured slowly.
Joanne Chang is the pastry chef/owner of Flour Bakery+Cafe and chef/co-owner of Myers+Chang in Boston.
We don't even attempt to make meringues if it is humid outside. They just become soggy and chewy. And as everyone has said above, be sure that the whites are beaten to stiff peaks.
All of the above received wisdom adds up to the fact that making or storing meringues in a humid climate is a challenge. To give yourself an advantage, add a generous pinch of cream of tartar (tartaric acid) to the whites as you're beating them and before you add a drop of sugar. Cream of tartar encourages the ovalbumen (the principal protein in EWs) to unfold and more readily accept the sugar that you'll add by the tablespoon. The best way to dry meringues is in an oven on the pilot light overnight. Persevere!
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