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In search of stiff peaks: me versus the meringue!

(11 Posts)
HazeltheMcWitch Sun 24-Mar-13 22:38:57

The plastic bowl thing is because if you look closely at a well-used plastic mixing bowl, it will have little knocks and dings in it, from where the beaters have hit it. These hold grease, dirt etc.

Hassled Sat 23-Mar-13 18:58:28

I never knew that about older eggs. And I use plastic bowls successfully.

The real killer is any wetness - if the bowl or the whisk is even remotely damp, you're stuffed.

SlouchingPanda Sat 23-Mar-13 18:56:25

PS served my flat disasters today with marsala cream and passion fruit and the were bloody lovely anyway. But next time will have the presentation off to a tee!

SlouchingPanda Sat 23-Mar-13 18:54:21

Thanks everyone! You are all marvellous!

I think my errors are (1) plastic bowl (2) adding sugar too quickly and (3) eggs too fresh.

The holy grail of luscious white peaks is within my grasp! smile

LuisGarcia Sat 23-Mar-13 09:53:32

Fat fights foam. Even a really tiny amount of fat (eg a tiny amount of yolk) will deflate your meringue. Plastic is chemically similar to fat so will do the same. Not sure if that helps, but that's why you need to clean everything and use metal or glass bowls and implements. Also, cream of tartar will stabilise the foam, making it easier to peakify.

PacificDogwood Sat 23-Mar-13 09:50:13

I whisk room temperature eggwhites until they are reasonably stiff, then add the sugar slowly whilst continuing to beat (with electric whisk) and get really stiff meringue mixture really easily - I am not a domestic goddess but have not had a problem.
I tend to seperate eggs and make the eggwhite/sugar combo before 'lifting' it under the rest of the yolk/butter/flour mixture for cakes too, and without trying anything special kinda as a default always end up with something that would make a fine meringue hmmconfused.

Keything AFAIK is grease-free stuff including not a drop of yolk in the whites.

mrsvilliers Sat 23-Mar-13 09:45:16

If you put the egg whites in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours prior that will help. Also allow to come to room temperature before whisking. Just a thought, you aren't using those awful liquid egg whites are you? I tried whipping those once and it was a miserable failure.

Elvensong Sat 23-Mar-13 00:42:07

This works for me:

Like Habbibu said, use older eggs.
Whisk egg whites in a metal bowl (don't know why it has to be metal though).
Ensure bowl is completely grease free - rub sparingly with half a lemon to remove all traces.
Make sure absolutely no egg yolk has got mixed in with the whites.
Use an electric whisk until you get the stiff peaks.
Gradually add the sugar & whisk like mad between sugar additions.

I use Delia Smith's Lemon Meringue Pie recipe for the correct proportions of egg whites to sugar, & it's never failed me yet.

It sounds like you're doing most of this already, but wanted to be helpful as I love meringues!

Melpomene Sat 23-Mar-13 00:26:31

The meringue in this recipe is made in a different way, heating the egg white together with the sugar and cream of tartar before beating. (The recipe is for baked alaska, but you could skip straight to the meringue bit at step 8.) We made this recently and it worked well - after doing the baked alaska there was plenty of mixture left for a big batch of piped meringues.

Maybe try that?

habbibu Sat 23-Mar-13 00:20:19

Are you overbeating before adding sugar? Are you using eggs that are too fresh? Old whites are better for meringue.

SlouchingPanda Sat 23-Mar-13 00:16:01

No matter what recipe I use, I can never make a successful meringue. I know the rules: clean everything thoroughly, beat egg whites until stiff, all fine so far. Gradually add sugar... but the elusive 'stiff peaks' phase never really comes. And then I end up with a sloppy mess which has no hope of ever holding a shape.

How can it go so wrong? Am I always doomed to fail? I have heard of 'overlapping' - might that be my problem?

Advice from kindly, gentle Mary Berry types gladly welcomed!

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