Sunday, April 22, 2012
Baking Challenge Week 16 - Flowers - Piped Meringue Flowers
The last time I wanted to make meringue for a challenge was the Elegant challenge back at week #6, and they failed horribly because my meringue stunk--my egg whites never got to stiff peaks, and the sugar deflated them further. I suspect now that my bowl wasn't as scrupulously clean as it needed to be.
Not so this time! Even though it was "clean" from its last use, I washed it again very carefully, the beaters too, and had no problem getting the right consistency.
The piping, however, was problematic. I was going for rosettes, but I suspect my star tip was too small (I only have the one set that came with my cookie press--different shapes, but all basically the same size); also, I may have been expecting more definition to the piping than you can really get with something made out of tiny bubbles.
When the rosettes just looked like circles, I went for the actual flower shapes, which definitely turned out better. But in the future, I don't think I mind terribly just dropping my meringues from a spoon!
I use weight for my meringues instead of volume measurements for the eggs and sugar, which makes it a bit harder to write a typical recipe, so bear with me.
Avrienne's Basic French Meringue
Start with four egg whites, and weigh them; this batch was 4.2 oz for me, but I've had it turn up as low as 3.8 and as high as 4.5. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
Weigh out twice the weight of the egg whites in sugar (ie, 8.4 oz. for this batch). Add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and stir to combine. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar mixture and beat until stiff and glossy; you shouldn't be able to see any grittiness of undissolved sugar.
Pipe small shapes, or drop by spoonfuls onto parchment-paper-lined baking sheets. Bake in a 200 F oven for one hour. Turn off the heat and allow to dry another two to three hours in the cooling oven before removing.