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How does one keep meringues white while baking?

Every time I try my hand at a meringue or pavlova recipe, it comes out perfectly delicious but a little tan. The glossy reference photo, however, is always white. Do white meringues exist here in the real world of the home cook's kitchen or are they figments of the magazine world's imagination?

Eric is the Senior Editor at Food52

asked about 2 months ago

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4 answers 226 views
Miss Karen
added about 2 months ago

I don't think you can... But if you are making meringue cookies they stay pretty white because you are essentially drying them out,not baking them. The temperature is REALLY low...

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Emma Laperruque
Emma Laperruque

Food Writer & Recipe Developer at Food52

added about 2 months ago

I think some coloration is inevitable, but the lowest-possible temperature oven makes a big difference. More wonderful tips on topic from the hotline...six years ago! https://food52.com/hotline...

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Miss Karen
added about 2 months ago

Perhaps reference meringue cookies and then bake your Pavlova etc in that manner.

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1071292522
added about 2 months ago

Your oven might be a factor; many household ovens don't hold low temperatures particularly well and many also heat unevenly with hot and cold spots throughout the cavity.

That said, I think you are on to something in your latter suspicion.

When you look at a glossy reference photo, you don't see the two or three dozen misshapen, overcooked, damaged, and otherwise imperfect others that were nixed by the art director, food stylist, etc. Plus, there's always Photoshop when reality isn't perfect enough... :o)

It's the same with almost everything. Same with your current favorite song. How many takes did the artist do? How many pro tools were used in post production? Sang off key? Not any more.

If you compare the woman sitting next to you with a Victoria's Secret model, well, good luck with that.

I could make fifty pieces of maguro nigiri sushi and only two of them might be good enough for photographic purposes. Will they taste the same as a pair of nigiri served at one of Tokyo's top sushiyas? No, they will not.

Anyhow, even people in the publishing industry aren't immune to the chicanery of the business.

Good luck with your meringues and enjoy the fruits of your labor, even if they aren't always magazine cover photo quality.

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