Drying Out the Meringues

2010.May.09 Sunday · 1 comment

in Food & Recipes

“I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, ‘What for?’ I said, ‘I’m going to buy some sugar.'”

– Stephen Wright, comedian

Merengues secos are “dry meringues”, and they were on my list to practice this week. I had a lot of time spent in-house because we were having our patio dug up and replaced. Pix forthcoming when it’s all done – just needs a bit of cleaning up and sealing the slate that we had put down. On to the practice…

Merngues Secos - egg whites

150 gm of egg whites ready for whipping (5 egg whites). Some people like to add a pinch of cream of tartar to help them not fall flat when cooked, but it’s not necessary if you follow these steps.

Merngues Secos - whip until halfway stiff

Whip them until they’re halfway stiff, approximately…

Merngues Secos - rain in the sugar

As they continue whipping, “rain” in 300 gm of sugar – don’t just dump the sugar in, the whites will go completely flat and you won’t be able to get them to whip the way you want.

Merngues Secos - whip until stiff

Whip until you have stiff peaks. If you stop the machine (or your whisk) and scoop up some, you should be able to turn the spoon over and the meringue won’t fall of, nor change shape.

Merngues Secos - fold in cornstarch and powdered sugar

Gently fold in 30 gm each of cornstarch and powdered sugar – this will help stabilize the meringue for piping and baking. Don’t over do the mixing to the point where the whites start to deflate, just make sure it’s well folded together.

Merngues Secos - fold in coloring and flavoring

At the same time, stir in any coloring or flavoring you might want to add. I went slightly crazy with the coloring, I was trying for a little rainbow effect… the purple didn’t come out as purple-y as I’d have liked, more of a grey-purple. Ah well.

Merngues Secos - pipe out into the shapes you want

Using a pastry bag (or spoons, or whatever), pipe out or form into the shapes that you want on a non-stick surface, whether silicone sheet (if you do a lot of baking, these are invaluable) or wax/parchment paper.

Merngues Secos - the finished product

Place in a low heat oven, 60°C/140°F, with, if you have one, the convection fan going, for 4 hours until they’re well dried out. If they’re still gooey when you check one on the bottom or inside, let them go a little longer – otherwise they’ll start to spoil quickly. Then again, if you like that little gooey texture and plan to eat them soon…

On a purely coincidental basis, about the same time I finished these and laid them out I read the news that the Argentine Congress had approved gay marriage and adoption… on to the next steps, Senate, Executive Branch, and, no doubt, a Supreme Court challenge if it gets that far.

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