Originally Posted by chueh
This was my first time making meringue. The sugary syrup has woozed out more and more from the pores of meringue ever since I finished baking. Is it normal?
There are 3 distinct types of meringue which might be made. Now, apologies first as I live in the UK and can never rememeber exactly how my sugar terminology translates to US terminology. Perhaps, someone could help me out here - please.
Anyway, the three types of meringue are:
1. Meringue Suisse - made from whisking egg whites until stiff but still gossy, adding 1/3 of the CASTER sugar, whisking again and adding the next third, whisking and just adding the final third until the sugar is incorporated through the mix. The usual proportions for this mix is 50g caster sugar per egg white plus a touch of cream of tartar which should be added to the egg white when you begin whisking.
2. Meringue Cuite - my personal favourite, as the mixer does all the work. Place 2 egg whites in the mixer and add 4.5 oz ICING sugar. Lower the whisk into the bowl, start on a slow speed and increase and allow the mixer to do the work until you have a rich, glossy mix which holds its shape and you should be able to turn the bowl upside down over your head and nothing drips! this mix can be done in a bowl, suspended over a pot of gently simmering water using a hand whisk.
3. Meringue Italienne which is made be first preparing a sugar and water syrup boiled to 260FF and poured onto whisked egg whites and whisked again.
Meringues, such as one would have for afternoon tea, sandwiched with cream are cooked by "drying out" - literally removing moisture, so the temperature has to be low - 100C/200F or lower if possible, to enable the egg white to coagulate and hold the sugar in suspension. If the oven temperature is too high, the egg white proteins will coagulate and the sugar will be expelled from the mix giving the "beading effect".
For an item like a pie topped with meringue, cook the meringue at 130C/250F/Gas 1/2 for about 30 minutes to brown the meringue and give a crisp top.
Meringue is hygroscopic - i.e., it loves mositure, so if you make a lemon meringue pie and leave the meringue on top for too long before serving, it will absorb liquid from the filling below and wilt/soften. Consequently, if you want to make a lemon meringue pie, it should be finished about 1 hour in advance. Alternatively, make the pie crust in advance and store, filling in advance (chill and store) and chill and then assemble, top with meringue and bake I hour before serving. A meringue topped pie does not keep but by choosing when you combine the ingredients you can make with ease.
Adding cornflour/cornstarch and vinegar to the mixture will give you a Pavlova but it will not give you a meringue. It will be marshmallow in the centre.
Also, using a chef`s torch to brown the meringue will not cook the mixture to make it safe in terms of edibility for some people - it just browns the top as a result of the Maillard reaction between sugars and proteins - same reaction as making toast! Certain Uk based chefs have suggested that it is, but experiments by colleagues on another messageboard have demonstrated that the egg white mix does not a reach sufficient internal temperature to render it safe for particular client groups such as pregnant women.
Hope this helps,