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Foolproof meringue/pavlova recipe please!(7 Posts)
Just made meringue for a strawberry pavlova. Recipe was 2 egg whites,100g caster sugar and 25g granulated sugar. Whisk egg whites until it forms soft peaks , add half the caster sugar until mix is shiny looking then add rest of caster sugar until mix is close textured. Fold in granulated sugar then into oven 140° for 35 mins. What has come out is a light brown coloured blob that has cracked all over so large chunks have flaked away before I even tried to take it off the parchment paper and inside is a white marshmallowy mix. Where did I go wrong? Has anyone got a recipe that always works? I do want it chewy inside rather than the dry , powdery type you can get but would like it to look white and be able to withstand the weight of cream and a few strawberries with collapsing!!!
Use older egg whites. I freeze any leftover whites and they always make the best meringues. I only use caster sugar, and the absolutely essential thing is to let them cool overnight. When the time is up, switch off the oven, do NOT open the door and leave them there all night. That should give you the soft middle you are after.
Find a recipe that contains cornflower and vinegar. Both of these will ensure the egg white stays stable and fluffy - not sink.
I'm from NZ - so Pavlova is in my DNA!
It's about technique too. This is how my mum would do it... she would use a standing mixer as it takes ages. Mix the egg whites first until they reach almost stiff peaks. Then mix in the sugar a tablespoon at a time - making sure it well and truly mixed through.
Add the cornflower and vinegar and you should be left with a very glossy and very thick mixture.
Use a cookie tray and cover it with greaseproof paper and pile the mixture into the middle - making it as high as possible.
Now think about temperature of your oven. A higher temperature will result in a browned meringue that is very crispy on the outside. You want the outside to be dry but the inside should be soft and mellowy. You will have chewy bits - but meringue is chewy and Pavlova is soft - that's how it is meant to be.
I go for a lower temp for a longer period. Once it has cooked for the required time (usually more like an hour or even more) simply turn off the oven and leave it there until it cools. Even overnight. This dries out the outside making it crispy.
not foolproof - but it works for me.
That final granulated sugar at the end of your recipe is probably responsible for the browning. Those granules will sit in the mixture and will brown as they caramelise.
Thank you all!
So leave out the granulated sugar or replace it with caster?
I'm wondering whether I whisked it enough as well. The recipe kept saying not to overwhisk so I think I might have erred a bit too far on the side of caution! There's no way I was whisking for ages, couple of mins for the whites, then a minute for the first half of the caster sugar and a minute or 2 for the remainder of the sugar so 5-7 mins tops I would say.
Roughly , how long would you say you should be whisking for? A minute for each tablespoon of sugar?
The peaks should hold their shape, but you are not aiming for them to be too stiff. Also, add the sugar gradually, one spoon at a time, whisking until it's combined, then the next spoon etc. It should be thick and glossy at the end.
140 for 35 mins sounds a bit too hot and quick to me. The recipe I have had most success with is 90mins at 115 (though in truth my oven only is reliable to about 120c) then turn oven off, don't open the oven door and let it sit in there for hours until cool which prevents cracking. I agree that the granulated sugar folded in at the end is probably what's made it brown so much - this recipe only has caster, gradually beaten in with the egg whites so it dissolves.
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