I used to think making perfect meringue was impossible! Mine always ran or turned yellow or I would bake it too long and burned it! But as the saying goes practice makes perfect + a few good tips = Perfect Meringue every time!
Tip #1. First start out with 2-3 eggs that are 3-4 days old preferably.
Tip #2. Separate the egg yolks so that your egg whites are clean and there is NO yolk in the egg whites. The smallest amount will ruin the egg whites.
Tip #3. Bring the egg whites to room temperature for 20 minutes before beating. Room temperature egg whites will foam 6-8 more times it’s original volume then cold eggs.BOWLS to use: Only use glass, stainless-steel or copper bowls.
Tip #4. Next, beat the egg whites on medium until they begin to form peaks. At this point the peaks will curl over when the beaters are lifted.
WHEN to add sugar: AFTER the egg whites have begun to form a peak that curls over when the beaters are lifted. A general rule to follow is adding 1/4 cups of sugar per egg, adding one tablespoon at a time. The sugar must be added gradually as the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks (tips stand straight). Adding the sugar too quickly will knock air out of the egg whites and make them difficult to mix thoroughly. Beat eggs on high until the sugar has dissolved. To test rub a small amount of meringue between your fingers or taste a small amount and if it feels gritty it is not completely dissolved. Keep whipping until it feels smooth without any grit feeling.
Tip #5. The meringue is done when it is not runny, there are no bubbles and when it’s stiff enough when held upside down on a spoon it will not drop off and peaks stand straight. You can also tell if it holds its shape on the beaters or swirl meringue with a spatula and see if it holds it shape.
This is very easy to do, I have done it 100 times but…..DO NOT over beat the egg whites or they will run yellow when you bake it.
Tip #6. It is best to pour meringue onto a hot filling so that the bottom of the meringue begins to cook. The heat from the pie filling cooks the base of the meringue making it less prone to leaking or shrinking.
Tip #7. You want to cover the entire area of the pie making sure you completely cover the edge of the crust. This helps the bottom of the meringue cook and stick to the filling so it will not slide off the when it is cut. Use a small spoon or spatula to make high peaks and decorative swirls before baking by curling and twisting the meringue peaks.
Bake the meringue at 325 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s best to cook the meringue at a lower temp (325) and bake longer, than at a higher temp and bake quicker.
Tip #8. To cut the meringue use a knife dipped in cold water.