Meringues are temperamental creatures and must be treated carefully to avoid disappointments. Meringues have two basic enemies: fat and moisture. Following are some tips to help you create light meringues that do not deflate.
1. Do not bake meringues on humid days. Check the humidity outside and inside before you
bake. Do not bake if humidity is above 50%.
2. Do not touch the meringue mixture with your fingers, if possible. The oil on your fingers will
help the meringue to deflate. Use two spoons to put batter onto cookie sheets, instead of one
spoon with your finger pushing the batter off.
3. Cornstarch will help hold the meringue together, even if it's somewhat humid, but a better
plan is to bake when weather is not humid.
4. Cream of tartar and cornstarch are both stabilizers for meringues. Cream of tartar should
be added to the egg whites before you start beating them. For every 4 egg whites,
use 1 Tbsp. cornstarch. This can be added by first dissolving into 1/3 cup cold water, then
heating and stirring till thickened. Set aside to cool and add to meringue after the sugar,
adding 1 Tbsp. at a time. Or the cornstarch can be sifted with powdered sugar and folded in
at the end.
5. The best meringues are made with a mixture of superfine sugar (caster sugar) and
confectioner's sugar 10X. Granulated sugar can be made into superfine sugar in the food
processor very easily.
6. Egg whites must be room temperature or slightly warmed to get them to whip up with
volume. Cold egg whites will not whip up. When egg whites are ready to whip, they will look
more liquiddy and clear -- the cloudy look will be gone.
7. If you have any tips to add, or have more questions about meringues, please leave a
comment on this post.