Friday, January 13, 2017

A Frothy Challenge for the New Year - Part the Second

Who knew that there were so many people with "pavlovian meringue experiences"?

After my post last week, I received some tips about what I may have done wrong with the first recipe, so I waited a couple of days and then tried again.

I'd like to note, here, that I checked the barometric pressure both days, and it was almost identical. I know that the air pressure can be a problem for some items (though I think it mainly has to do with things being boiled, not whisked), and so I wanted to make sure that each batch got an equal shot at success.

Following the most common tip I was given, I started out by getting my egg whites out really early to make sure they were all the way to room temperature (which, okay, it's January in Minneapolis, so our room temperature is typically about 67 degrees, if our thermostat is to be believed).

I measured everything out, again. (As explanation: normally, I'd have just gone with "that amount came out of the egg, so it's one egg white," but Christopher had simply put all of the leftover whites in a bowl after making his creme brulee, so I had no way of just pulling out four egg whites and had to use the "two tablespoons of liquid goop per egg white" method.)

And I started beating. Fairly quickly, the egg whites got all happy and frothy.

So I started to add the sugar and wait for the magic to happen.

Action shot!
Remember how long the first attempt took? This didn't take nearly as long. After two or three minutes, I had this:
I was getting pretty excited at this point - the peaks weren't perfect, but they had come together so fast.
I tried a couple more minutes of mixing, and I ended up with this:

This was very cool - the mix stayed "attached" when I pulled the whisk out.
Not a perfect stiff peak, but very close - and only about 1/3 the time it took during attempt number one.
Which scooped up pretty nicely, too.
Still, though, I would not have been able to pipe and shape these - they were way too soft for that. Though they did hold the little curlicues on top.
Into the oven at 350 degrees, which was then immediately turned down to 300 degrees before they were left in for an hour.

They baked up, again, just as they had before - getting all puffy - and still with the odd, slightly decorative, cracks on the sides.
Once again, the house had that very slight smell of fish and chips as they were baking, thanks to the vinegar.
I was feeling pretty excited when I pulled them out of the oven. I had followed the directions - and the tips I'd been given, and was sure that they were going to be great.

Then I cut into one...
I'd love to say it was just a bad camera angle, but it really did pretty much just shatter and split apart.
Once again, they tasted great (sugar and vanilla - really what do you expect?), and they did have just the slightest hint that they might have wanted to consider offering the possibility of a marshmallow-y interior. But... no... these weren't fluffy inside, either. They had thick, solid - very tasty - shells, with air pockets on the interior and thicker bottom layers.

My next guess? Maybe an oven temperature issue - though I just made it through a season of Christmas cookies without issue, so I don't think that's the issue.

My current decision? It's definitely now time to move on to the next version - the one I grew up with - with no vinegar or cornstarch.

Stay tuned!

Want me to try out a recipe that you can't seem to get to work? Let me know! I'm open to most not-too-expensive suggestions!

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