It only only a few ingredients, so why do some people struggle so hard to produce the perfect meringue? I tried it a few times and each time the outcome would have made any professional chef shudder. Why does my meringue usually come out flat?
A meringue mixture may be flat, but a cooked meringue can also deflate readily. While following the recipe for this delectable delicacy, there are many suggestions and practices to keep in mind.
If you want to be known as the finest meringue baker among your family and friends, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do while preparing this delicacy:
- Why Is My Meringue Mixture Flat?
- How Can I Ensure That My Meringue Mixture Doesn’t Go Flat?
- Can I Fix My Flat Meringue Mixture?
- Why Is My Baked Meringue Flat?
- Final Thoughts
- How do you keep meringues from going flat?
- What causes meringue to flatten?
- Can you save deflated meringue?
- How do you keep meringues fluffy?
- What are the three rules for making a successful meringue?
- Why isn’t my meringue getting fluffy?
- What happens if you over whip meringue?
- How do you firm up meringue?
- What gives meringue stability?
- How do you fix meringue that won’t stiffen?
Why Is My Meringue Mixture Flat?
While the fundamental components for a meringue are merely eggs, sugar, and a little acid, making the ideal lemon meringue pie or pavlova is easier than it seems.
The preparation of the mixture is the first step toward a perfect meringue. There are many possible causes for your meringue mixture to go flat:
- The eggs are not adequately divided.
- The eggs are freezing.
- The egg whites have not been beaten enough.
- The combination as a whole is overwhipped.
- The whisk and bowl are both dirty and damp.
- You’ve oversqueezed the piping bag.
- You put the sugar in too fast.
- You did not use a mild acid.
- The weather is very humid.
The key to a flawless meringue mixture is in the eggs, whisking, utensils, and weather, so how should you prepare for your next attempt?
How Can I Ensure That My Meringue Mixture Doesn’t Go Flat?
It is not as simple as taking a bowl, whisking up some egg whites, and adding sugar: each delicate step of preparing a beautiful meringue requires tremendous care:
|Eggs||Make sure that you properly separate the egg yolk from the egg white, as the fat from a speck of egg yolk can cause the whites of the egg to deflate. A small shell can ruin the separation process, so always make sure that you crack the eggs on a hard surface and keep the yolk and the white in separate bowls. Eggs whisked at room temperature are airier than cold eggs. However, it is easier to separate cold eggs. The solution is easy: you can separate the eggs while cold and then leave them outside for half an hour before whisking them.|
|Whipping/Mixing||If your egg whites don’t reach the firm and stiff peaks stage, it is an indication that you’ve beaten them too long or on too low a speed. Ideally, before adding the sugar, you should beat the egg whites for about a minute or until it forms soft peaks. It’s also best to use an electric mixer with the setting on medium speed. It’s also quite possible that you can overmix your egg whites to a stage where they are past peak stiffness. Overmixing will lead to your mixture having a grainy consistency, which will lead to a disastrous meringue.|
|Tools||Your bowl and whisk need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Always use a copper, glass, or metal bowl as plastic tends to hold hidden traces of oil and fat. Copper bowls’ acidity also stabilized egg whites.|
|Piping||You can easily deflate the mixture if you hold the piping bag too tightly. Be sure not to touch the baking sheet with the tip of the bag, and always apply gentle pressure when piping.|
|Sugar||There’s a reason why all meringue recipes tell you to gradually add the sugar: if you add the sugar all at once, your mixture will lose all of the air that you’ve so carefully created. Ideally, you should add the sugar one tablespoon at a time until your mixture reaches the soft peak stage.|
|Mild acid||Acid gives more volume and air to your mixture. A mild acid like ½ teaspoon of lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar will lift your mixture to the next level.|
|Weather||Ideally, it would be best if you do not make meringue on a wet or humid day. The air’s moisture will cause the sugar to absorb that moisture, and the result will be a flat mixture. If you have no choice but to start baking on a humid day, adding 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the sugar will make a difference.|
Meringue may be finicky, so you may discover that your meringue is still flat even after following all of the above rules. While success is never assured, you may try to bring it back to life.
Can I Fix My Flat Meringue Mixture?
A flat meringue mixture may occasionally be revived. The key ingredient is whisking the egg whites.
According to Nigella, the egg whites are often not whisked well enough before adding the sugar. She suggests whisking the whites first, then adding a tablespoon of sugar and whisking the whites back to medium peaks before adding the remainder of the sugar.
One enthusiastic member of the Food52 hotline even tried, and it worked: She whisked a fresh egg white to stiff peaks, then carefully added the unsuccessful concoction, and voilà!
Why Is My Baked Meringue Flat?
As previously stated, the meringue mixture is not the only one that may be flat. A cooked meringue may also crumble. Here are a few reasons why your cooked meringue may fail:
- You didn’t bake it for long enough.
- The oven temperature is set too low. When you observe liquid condensation beads on top of your meringue, it’s an indication that your oven’s temperature has to be raised.
- The air is very humid. As much as possible, create meringue on a dry day, since dampness in the air may cause your cooked meringue to flatten.
- If you remove it from the oven shortly after baking, your meringue may collapse. Since meringue collects more moisture from the air on a humid day, it must be cooled inside the turned-off oven first.
- During the baking process, you opened the oven door.
Whether you’re making basic meringues for the kids or a sophisticated pavlova, make sure you follow all of the required rules and requirements. Making a good meringue is similar to caring for a baby: it requires gentle handling.
How do you keep meringues from going flat?
It is preferable not to prepare meringue on a rainy or damp day. The moisture in the air will lead the sugar to absorb it, resulting in a flat mixture. If you must bake on a humid day, adding 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the sugar will make a difference.
What causes meringue to flatten?
Older egg whites do not retain air bubbles as effectively as fresher whites, causing them to collapse. A more prevalent cause of collapse is when whites are pounded too fast (at too high a pace), creating large unstable air bubbles that will subsequently collapse.
Can you save deflated meringue?
Overworked whites will crumble. To resurrect them, whisk 1 egg white until foamy, then gently fold into overbeaten whites until glossy and wet.
How do you keep meringues fluffy?
To assist stabilize the foam and make it less prone to collapse, a tiny quantity of cream of tartar or vinegar may be added to the mixture at the start of whipping. Plastic dishes should be avoided because they may retain a film of fat from previously combined or stored substances, which will collapse the meringue.
What are the three rules for making a successful meringue?
Making Perfect Meringues
Cold eggs, hot start…
Weighing to go…
The race is won by the slow and steady…
Peaks that are flawless…
A sliver of an egg…
It’s oily good.
The finest bowl ever…
Solid and sturdy.
More to come…
•Jun 7, 2022
Why isn’t my meringue getting fluffy?
One of the most frequent errors is not beating the eggs long enough or at a slow enough pace, which results in the egg whites not reaching a stiff peak stage and instead becoming sloppy and drooping.
What happens if you over whip meringue?
If you overwhip the egg whites, they will become too stiff and will lose the moisture that they carry. This will reduce the crispness of your meringue and make it more prone to collapse or leak sugar pearls.
How do you firm up meringue?
8 teaspoon cream of tartar before beating each egg white—an it’s acid that helps to solidify the egg white. Add 1 for the strongest and most stable meringue.
What gives meringue stability?
Acid. An acid, whether vinegar, lemon juice, cream of tartar, or a mixture, can substantially strengthen the structure of the meringue. Acid not only speeds up the whipping and aeration of meringue, but it also keeps it stable. Meringue is more prone to collapse without acid, either during or after mixing.
How do you fix meringue that won’t stiffen?
When possible, make your meringues on a bright, dry day. If your meringues are still sticky, return them to the oven for another 10 minutes to crisp them. On a humid day, add 1 teaspoon cornstarch to the sugar to help keep your meringues dry.