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Please save me from further meringue disaster...

(13 Posts)
MilliONaire Sat 11-Jun-11 17:53:14

I cannot seem to master making a nice meringue for pavlova! It is really irritating me. I have tried a few Nigella recipes, the lastest being this afternoon for a chocolate raspberry meringue. I follow the recipe to the letter, preheat oven, it all looks perfect going into the oven.

And yet EVERY time, by the time the recommended cooking time is up, the meringue has split & cracked and then all the edges fall off when I am trying to trasnfer it to the serving plate. Todays one looked good, if cracked and now it is cooling in the oven & it has entirely sank down onto itself.

WHY????? What am I doing wrong?

Experienced, expert meringue makers...please take pity on me!

SecretNutellaFix Sat 11-Jun-11 17:54:23

Are your egg white whisked enough before you add the sugar?

MilliONaire Sat 11-Jun-11 17:56:30

I 'think' they are, they look foamy and stiff, would underwhisking them account for the cracking etc?

I very new to meringue making!

Hassled Sat 11-Jun-11 18:01:30

You need to be able to tip the bowl upside down without danger of spillage. That's the test. And then add the sugar slowly and carefully - if you dump it all in you'll knock the air out. And let it cool completely in the oven - I quite often make them in the evenings and then leave to cool gradually overnight.

Pinner35 Sat 11-Jun-11 22:38:45

I am an expert meringue maker and I've done that Nigella recipe loads and t turns out differently every time. I have given up and now just stick to a normal pavlova with cream and raspberries and if we feel the need to add chocolate, I do a separate chocolate sauce.

Sorry, that prob wasn't much help.

Pinner35 Sat 11-Jun-11 22:40:10

Expert in my own opinion that is (and that of my DH)......just in case you think I'm Delia in disguise smile

Pancakeflipper Sat 11-Jun-11 22:42:05

I have also given up with that Nigella recipe. And me and my meringues are lovely. It's been back to the Good Housekeeping recipes for me..

Have you tried flicking your hair and pouting every 10 seconds? That might be the secret?

bellavita Sat 11-Jun-11 22:43:23

You need delia's recipe. Works every time. Once the hour is up in the oven though, you need to turn the oven off and leave it in there over night.

Also, get one of those reusable baking sheets - nothing sticks!

MilliONaire Sun 12-Jun-11 20:28:05

Thanks everyone,
That is very helpful to hear that others have had problems with the nigella recipe. The other one I made a while ago, which also went wrong was her 'gooey chocolate stack' from domestic goddess. Same problem, it cracked and the outer 'shell' crumbled off.

I will investigate the delia recipe next - thanks for that tip.

So, we had our guests today and we ate the 'disaster' pavlova for dessert and it was actaully very nice! The texture of the inside was more marshmallow than chewy though, and I like a chewy meringue. So back to the drawing board for me...

nannyl Tue 14-Jun-11 08:53:26

i always do nigella (and have done gooey chocolate stack, YUM)

I made them meringues last night but i had a pregnant moment and before whisking egg whites i added the sugar shock
i took most of the sugar out (what i could) but ended up with sugar in the egg white, and eggwhite in the sugar id taken out.

I whisked all the egg white that i could etc, then whisked the corner of the whole with sugar in... then just added the rest of the sugar (& egg white) (in 3 batches) and whisked and whisked.

it looked normal when i put on baking tray (on one of thise magic non stick liner things)

My old boss taught me a trick.... the bowl has to be completely clean, and i always wipe vinegar on kitchen paper around the bowl first. then add a drop of vinegar to the egg white.
Also i think nigella cooks them too hot... i do 130 ish (not 150) and turn off the oven after an hour, and leave them over night.

will let you know how they have turned out when i make it downstairs, as they have been in over night.

My method is
wipe bowl clean with vinegar
1 egg white : 60g caster sugar
1 drop of vanilla
1 drop of vinegar

cook lower than nigella suggests (In a 4 door aga you do it overnight in the coolest oven with is GM 1/4) and leave over night to cool before removing from oven.

hobbgoblin Tue 14-Jun-11 08:58:13

Can I hijack with another meringue question?

I've asked before on here but not found an explanation or solution, yet...

My meringues go gooey at the whisking stage.

I've tried whisking lots, a little. I've tried being extremely carefully adding the sugar, chucking it in. I've used metal bowls, glass bowls and plastic bowls.

I wipe the cooking utensils with lemon juice so there is no grease.

They whip up well, but then they go like liquid meringue. Sometimes it's only as bad as they spread a little on the baking paper but other times they are like liquid.

nannyl Tue 14-Jun-11 09:35:13

hobbgoblin i have no idea. sorry (I use as fresh as possible free range eggs and caster sugar... )

Just to add, been to see my "disaster meringues" from last night where i forgot to whisk egg white before adding the sugar...

they too look perfect shock

i think they key is cooling in the oven overnight

wildfig Tue 14-Jun-11 15:29:29

hobbgoblin probably a silly suggestion but are you using a big enough bowl? Meringues need to incorporate loads of air - I whisk for about two minutes in a Kitchenaid mixer before adding the first spoonful of sugar, then add the rest, tablespoon by tablespoon. Takes quite a while.

(I've got a very gourmet friend who moaned about meringues 'never working' - turned out she was using a Bamix stick blender to puree whisk the egg whites.)

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