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weep-proof meringue?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have been attempting to make a truly weep-proof meringue for pies and I have had some limited success but I need some guidence.  To make the meringue I use 3 egg white(with-out a hint of yolk), 3/8 tsp cream of tartar and 6 Tblsp sugar. I have tried doing the meringue by combining the egg whites and cr of tartar, beating to soft peak stage then gradually adding the sugar until stiff peaks, then spooning it onto a hot filling and baking. Seldom really worked. I next tried using a cooked slurry of 1/3 cup water and 1 Tblsp of cornstarch which I beat in after the sugar. This was  a tad better. Next I tried using a very hot water bath. With this one I combined the whites, sugar and cr of tartar. Lightly stirred and put the bowl into a larger bowl of almost boiling water, stirring constantly. until it came to a temp of 130 F.. I immediately beat in the stand mixer to almost stiff peaks and then began adding the cooked and cooled cornstarch mix.. I then added 1 tsp of vanilla and a pinch of salt. As before I spooned it onto a hot filling and baked at 360 F for 13 minutes. The peaks were dark brown and shading to golden. The "valleys were snow white. and the meringue was dry to the touch. I cooled on a wire rack for 2 hrs and then put in ref for 6 hrs. BUT I still get weeping between filling and meringue. Pease help. Oh, and is it really true that humidity is an insurmountible problem? Thank You

post #2 of 11

Believe it or not one of the reasons this occurs and it is not your formulas is simply condensation. The white  forms a barrier or seal on top of the filling , even though you room temped for 2 hours, you now put in a cold refrig. This will cause condensation between the warm and cold layer and will really not be a weeping as we know it, but a result of condensation. I like your corn starch procedure, as it acts as a stabilizer to the mix. You may even want to try adding a bit of albumin powder to help hold the whites from weeping.  The irregular browning is common as the lower will never brown even with the upper. Higher peaks will always be darker in color. Using a torch after taking out of oven could rectify this, hit the lower with torch not upper.  Good Luck Experimenting

 

Not only do es the meringue weep but fillings also throw liquid.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Your idea about condensation is an interesting thought that I have not come accross before. Not sure how I can prevent that but I will mull it over. To a large extent I have been following all the tips on meringue in Shirley Corriher's book BakeWise. She also talks about an Italian meringue where hot syrup is poured into the egg whites at the soft peak stage. I have not yet tried it as I'm still working my way through her other meringues. She says that if I put the meringue onto a hot filling and immediately pop the pie into the oven then the hot filling helps to "cook" the meringue from the bottom. I agree. It certainly is a big help though I still get a 30% shrinkage in the meringue and some weeping though not as bad as before. I am especially interested in getting peoples thoughts on whether  high humidity days ruin a meringue.

post #4 of 11

I agree with her idae of hot meringue and hot pie and boiled sugar or italian style meringue

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Another factor that I have tried is reducing the HEIGHT of the meringue as I spoon it onto the pie. Unstead of trying to get a super high mound I reduced that height to about 2'. My thinking is that that will allow the meringue  to cook all the way through and hence weep less. That, plus the other factors listed above seems to be working even on the most humid, even rainy, days.

post #6 of 11

I don't have a lot of experience with meringue.  The first few times I made a lemon or chocolate meringue pie, my meringue looked beautiful but weeped.  I made a chocolate meringue pie last Sunday.  WHen I put the meringue on the pie, it was beautiful but after I put it in the oven, it collapsed.  This was my first time making a meringue pie in this electric oven so I wasn't sure if it was the oven or if it was humid.  It was a sunny day and I didn't even think to check the weather for humidity.  It weeped just sitting on the counter cooling before I put it in the refrigerator.


 

post #7 of 11

Humidity is a huge factor here in the subtropic New Orleans climate. Basically I enjoy but brief merengue seasons in the driest times of early spring and late fall so I watch and wait eagerly as otherwise mine are doomed to imperfection. You may experiement with the addition of cream of tartar or cornstarch (published suggestions abound) but I prefer the less is more approach to ideal flavor and mouthfeel and keep strictly to egg whites hence over or under whipping is the single most vital element. Be patient and observe carefully and you will learn to recognize almost instictually when the ideal glossy but not dry texture is achieved. 

 

Are you creating a product for serving right away? In the end I limit what I do with merengues as asking much more of them in this climate is merely wishful thinking. I enjoy them all the more for this forced rarity. Good luck! 

post #8 of 11

Years ago I gave up trying to make lemon meringue pie the traditional way -- it always wept no matter what I did. I solved the problem by baking meringue puffs separately and arranging them on a cooled (but not chilled) pie. I like a lot of meringue, so I use six large egg whites, a dash of salt, about 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, and about 1/2 cup sugar (I don't like an overly sweet meringue). For what it's worth, here's my method:  Preheat oven to 375 deg., and grease and flour a large cookie sheet.  Place the egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl over hot (not boiling) water, and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the salt & cream of tartar and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Form 5 or 6 large puffs of meringue on baking sheet and bake until meringue puffs and browns as you like it. Turn off oven heat and with oven door ajar allow meringue to cool in oven. When the pan and the meringues are cool, carefully remove the puffs with an offset spatula and arrange them on your pie. Place cooled pie in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. This is the DH's favorite pie, and now that I no longer have to deal with weepy meringue and soggy crust, it's mine too.smile.gif      

post #9 of 11

Very creative solution helenm, I can't wait to try it!

post #10 of 11

Use Shirley's recipe for cooked sugar meringue and also use her tip for scattering some dry breadcrumbs on top of the pie filling before adding the meringue. It works great! The breadcrumbs help the meringue adhere to the filling and disappear into both during the baking process. 

Can't remember whether she recommends using salt, but I wouldn't. Salt absorbs moisture from the air and will contribute to weeping. 

I can't believe I'm saying this about one of Shirley's recipes, but the sugar to egg white ratio seems a little low, especially for a boiled sugar meringue. You might want to increase it for a heftier, more stable meringue.

www.foodandphoto.com

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #11 of 11

Just ordered bakewise for the nook, what a great book!

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