fontas food

eating my way through suburbia

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Weeping Meringues

Now that Thanksgiving (my second one this year!) is over, I've got more time to get back to the important stuff...blogging!

One of the dishes I made for the big turkey party was a lemon meringue pie. Going into the day, I had no worries about how the meringue would turn out but, by the end of that Thursday, I would rue my devil-may-care approach.

I used a recipe from Susan Purdy's As Easy as Pie (great book, by the way; I highly recommend it). The only change made to the recipe was the use of Meyer lemons rather than the standard Eurekas or Lisbons (hey! they were free!).

There is no doubt about it; the pie looked fabulous!



But a closer look showed that all was not perfect with my pie...



The shrinkage of the meringue is clearly visible in this photo but what might be a little less clear is the amount of weeping that went on. I swear, that pie wept more than a hormonal teenager at a chick flick.

So what causes meringues to weep?

I did a little googling today and found a variety of reasons proffered. The one that made the most sense to me was the uneven cooking of the meringue caused fluid in the egg white foam to be released as the meringue cooled.

So how to combat this problem? One solution is to put the meringue on hot filling before baking it. Another is to add a wee bit of cornstarch to the meringue (although this apparently changes the texture...like gobs of syrup don't!). I suppose baking the meringue separately and then sliding it onto a cooled, filled pie might work too.

Any good ideas out there?

2 Comments:

Blogger Garrett said...

Beautiful meringue work, regardless of the weeping!

November 30, 2007 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger jen said...

Thank you, Garrett!

My friend, M (she of the corned beef hash supremacy), and I have decided we're going to try some of the solutions for weeping meringues and see how effective they are.

Yes, it's really just an excuse to eat lemon meringue pie...

November 30, 2007 at 1:27 PM  

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