Meringue-based desserts usually replace cake or short cake and can be shaped into little cups or similar to a deep dish pie crust. The trick is to get the surface crip and the center nice and chewy. Meringue shells can be filled with almost any fruit, frozen fruit and whipped cream to make a light and refreshing end to a meal, or it can be spread over a lemon meringue pie. Here are some tips for making great meringue:
1) Pre-heat your oven to 300 F.
2) Separate 3 eggs. Some people will tell you it's important to have the freshest eggs possible while others stress it's best to use old eggs. The truth is it doesn't matter one bit. but cold eggs separate more easily.
3) Make absolutely sure you don't get any yolk in your egg whites. If you like meringue, you might want to invest in an inexpensive egg separator.
4) Prepare your sugar. The best ratio is two ounces of sugar for every egg white. This might sound silly, but try putting the sugar in the sunlight or on top of your stove. Warm sugar absorbs more easily, but you don't want it hot.
5) Put the egg whites into a mixing bowl and add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. Whisk at slow speed for two minutes, increasing to medium for an additional minute.
6) Whisk at high speed until the peaks are stiff, adding the warm sugar tablespoon by tablespoon. Don't throw in all the sugar at once.
7) Spoon the mixture onto baking sheets lined with wax paper and shape your meringue cups.
8) Place baking sheet in a fully pre-heated oven at 300 F then immediately turn the temperature down to 275 F. Bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes, checking to see if the tops start to brown.
9) Turn off the oven, but leave the meringue inside until the oven is cold.
Lemon Meringue Pie
Juice and zest of two large lemons
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sugar
3 tbsps cornstarch
2 tbsps flour
1/4 tsp salt
11/2 cups water
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
8 oz sugar
Whisk the egg yolks, gradually ading 1/2 cup of warm sugar, then set aside.
Whisk together 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Stir in water, the juice from lemons, and then the zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil.
Stir in 2 tbsps of butter and add the egg yolk mixture while continuing to whisk. Bring to a boil. Continue whisking until mixture is thick, but remove from heat.
Pour filling into baked pastry shell.
Create meringue using the steps above, but spread the meringue mixture over the pie, sealing the edges at the crust.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 F for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.