I love and hate meringue.
I don't love meringue which does a fine imitation of styrofoam block in texture, appearance or taste. This type is often present and piled high on Lemon Meringue pies served in many restaurants with rotating dessert displays.
Some years ago, I created a unique pie recipe - an apple custard pie -- where I finished it with a Swiss meringue. Swiss meringues don't require the baking used in other (styrofoam) meringue preparations. The egg whites are gently heated double-boiler-style until the confectioner's sugar and salt is dissolved and the mixture is warm to a touch. You then beat it, along with vanilla, until it holds a peak. I then spread it over my custard pie almost immediately after it is removed from the oven, being careful to include the crust to anchor the meringue onto the pie. Since it is already 'precooked,' you only brown it gently under the broiler.
When you eat this pie in a short period of time, this meringue is a crowning glory with a wonderfully velvety texture not anyway reminding you of styrofoam. Kept for longer periods, the meringue does compress or collapse somewhat. I have come to expect this decompression, or whatever you may call it, it is not noticeable if you see it with a fresh eye. It is obvious to me because I know how tall the dome of meringue was originally.
If anyone is experienced with meringue, am I having reasonable experiences and expectations with this Swiss meringue or am I doing something wrong?
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