A light sweet topping made from whipped egg whites and usually baked.
|1/2 cup||Boiling Water|
|2 Tbsps.||Cold Water|
|3/8 tsp.||Cream of Tartar|
|6 Tbsps.||Sugar, *see Note|
Using cold Eggs, separate the egg whites, placing each first into a small container, then if completely yolk free, transfer each to a large, clean, grease-free and dry glass or metal, but not copper, bowl. The extra step of the small container allows you to omit any with even the slightest bit of yolk without contaminating any previously yolk free egg whites. Set aside to reach room temperature.
Bring at least 1/2 cup of Water to a boil. Blend the Cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of Cold Water in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of the Boiling Water and 2 tablespoons of Sugar. Cook over medium low heat until thick and translucent, but not boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Cool completely. Transferring to another container will hasten cooling.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Add the Cream of Tartar and Salt to the egg whites and beat until mixture is foamy. Mix in the Vanilla, then gradually add the 6 tablespoons of Sugar, one at a time, beating constantly during and between each addition until meringue forms soft and glossy peaks. Similarly gradually add the cold cornstarch mixture, beating quickly for several minutes until stiff.
Since meringue will begin to deflate in as little as 5 minutes, spread immediately over top of pie and seal to the crust. Bake for 8-12 minutes until peaks are dark, valleys light and in between is golden brown. Cool in a draft free place.
* If you use Baker's Sugar, a.k.a. Superfine Sugar or Caster Sugar, it will require less whipping to dissolve. I've even used Powdered Sugar which dissolves even more quickly.
Beading, weeping, and shrinking are three common problems with meringue. This recipe avoids or minimizes those problems. Overcooking causes beading, i.e., formation of water droplets on the surface. Weeping, i.e., loss of water between the meringue and the pie filling, is caused by undercooking. Shrinking is a loss of volume during baking, but the cornstarch and sealing to the pie crust should prevent it.
Unless the pie recipe states otherwise, spread meringue over piping hot filling, and spread to the edges to seal. Hot filling ensures the inside of the meringue cooks, preventing weeping. If you still experience weeping, fine cake crumbs, vanilla wafer crumbs, or soft white bread crumbs sprinkled lightly over the filling will absorb liquid between the layers and further prevent weeping.
If you experience beading, try baking at higher temperatures between 400°F and 450°F for shorter times of as little as 4 to 5 minutes. This prevents overcooking the outer layer of meringue, so beading is avoided.
Source: Originally Deborah Flick, but with web inspired modifications.
Yield: 4 cups
Nutrition Facts per Serving:
trace Fat (0.0% calories from fat)
trace Dietary Fiber
Exchanges per Serving:
0 Lean Meat
1 Other Carbohydrates.
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