beating eggs question
I found a recipe for biscotti from a dessert book that I like ("Save room for Dessert" by David Lebovitz). It says to beat eggs with sugar and vanilla in a mixer using a wire whip attachement until they hold their shape when you lift the wire whip. My experience with baking is very limited. What does "hold their shape" mean? The egg whites can be whipped until they hold peaks without drooping, but I didn't think that's possible with whole eggs. Is the mixture supposed to just thicken? What speed should I use on my mixer and how long do you think should I beat them?
By the way, you guys are my most reliable baking resource. I made galleygirl's pear tart twice now. The first time I used a wrong attachment on my mixer, overbeat, overbaked, and my pears weren't juicy enough. The second time (after all your nurturing and advice) it came out perfect. You'll make a baker out of me yet ;)
They will hold their shape to soft peaks. What you don't want is a liquid that only coats a spoon.
Considering biscotti is a relatively dense cookie you want to only beat until the sugar and eggs/vanilla are incorporated fully - which should be the soft peak stage - more beating means more air incorporated into the dough which means lighter.
You should also have your eggs at room temperature for the best result.
Good luck, as soon as I'm finished painting I'm going to have to make biscotti!