I filled these little pastry cases with home made Lemon Curd and topped them with this perfect meringue. Read on for the secret to this non-weep meringue.
The secret to a non-weep meringue is a simple Italian Meringue. This differs from a French or Swiss meringue as Italian meringue is made by beating egg whites until they reach soft fluffy peaks, and then slowly adding a hot sugar syrup, and beating the mixture until it is cold, thick and glossy. It tends to hold its volume better than others, is very stable and and as the hot sugar syrup cooks the egg white it is not necessary to place it in the oven to brown. I use a kitchen blow torch which browns the top giving it a store bought professional look. And if you haven’t got a kitchen blow torch you should get one, they are loads of fun and easy to use.
No blow torch, no problem…… you can spread the meringue on top of your pies and bake them in the oven just until the top browns slightly without worrying about having an under cooked meringue as the syrup has already cooked it.
- When making meringue, it’s important to start with a clean dry bowl and clean tools. Any grease or water can prevent the egg whites from forming soft peaks.
- using cream of tartar not only stabilises the egg whites and allows them to maintain their texture when whipped into stiff peaks, but it also increases their tolerance to heat.
- Room-temperature egg whites whip to a higher volume, but it’s easier to separate the yolks from the whites when the eggs are chilled. The answer is to separate the yolks and whites while the eggs are cold, then set the whites aside for 10 minutes to get them to room temperature.
- Choose a dry day to make your meringues, otherwise the humidity in the air will suck up the moisture and the meringues never quite set up properly.
Italian Meringue is often used to frost cakes, or as a base for buttercream frostings and to top pies, lighten ice creams and in mousses.
For the lemon curd get my recipe here Taste of Sunshine Lemon Curd
- 1½ cups (225G) plain flour
- ½ cup (80G) icing sugar , sifted
- 125 G butter , chilled and chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tblsp iced water
Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
Place the flour, icing sugar and chopped butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
With the motor running, add the egg yolks and iced water and process until the mixture just comes together to form a dough.
Turn out onto a clean work surface and bring together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick.
Using pastry cutters of your choice , cut out rounds and line lightly greased mini tins of your choice leaving 1cm excess pastry overhanging. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
Prick the base of each pastry case with a fork and line with non-stick baking paper and then fill with uncooked rice or beans and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the baking paper and rice and cook for a further 10–12 minutes or until the pastry is golden and dry. Set aside to cool slightly.
Using a small serrated knife, carefully trim the excess pastry.
- 1½ cups (330g) castor sugar
- ⅓ cup (80ml) water
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 115 m egg whites (approx. 3 eggs) at room temperature
Place the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a saucepan over high heat.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. While the motor is running, add the hot sugar syrup in a thin steady stream and whisk for 1–2 minutes or until thick and glossy.
Spoon the meringue over the filling and, using a kitchen blowtorch, torch until lightly golden.
If you don’t have a kitchen blowtorch, preheat a grill to high and cook for 30 seconds–1 minute or until lightly golden brown.