Gritty Swiss Meringue...Please Help!
I was testing out a recipe today for a swiss meringues from Martha Stewart...2 egg whites, 3/4 c. sugar, mix together then place onto double boiler and whisk until sugar dissolves..My problem is that the sugar NEVER full dissolved and therefore yielded a really gritty meringue...So i tried it again, leaving it over the heat longer...no luck...ok, i said to myself, I'll process the sugar, so i ground the sugar in my food processor for about one minute and tried it again..still grainy....one more failure sealed the deal and I gave up...Each time, the eggwhites were cooked with the sugar, whisking constantly, over the double boiler for about 5-10 minutes (my last failure was around 10 minutes of doubleboiler whisking time), yet when I rubbed it between my fingers, I still felt grainyness. Placing it in a mixer resulted in a failure to fluff. Can someone please help me solve this riddle? I'm using white sugar (store brand) and clean equiptment.
Find superfine sugar at a cook or bakers supply or perhaps liquor store. Sometimes your local grocery store will have it.
Sounds like your heat isn't high enough.
Try this. Place the egg whites in the double boiler and whisk them gently until they warm to just above room temp and loosen up (seem more liquidy). Gradually whisk in the sugar, either adding about a tablespoon at a time or pouring in one smooth, slow stream until it is all incorporated, then procede as directed.
I agree with Diana that your heat probably isn't high enough. Are you using a store bought double boiler set, or doing the make shift mixing bowl-over-pot of water method?
Not having read the actual Martha Stewart recipe, I'm not clear on what the actual procedure is or why. Most of all, I'm not sure of what the ultimate use of the meringue is... Top a pie? Meringue kisses? Well, anyway if I wanted a "cooked" meringue, I would boil the sugar in water to the soft ball stage, then whip the eggwhites to the soft peak stage. Drizzle in the hot syrup in a slow steady steam with mixer on high. It will cook the egg whites and leave you with a smooth, glossy, non-gritty meringe. Now, whether it's suitable for your ultimate use of the meringue I have no idea. This meringue can be baked in a slow oven for kisses, used on a pie, or even to frost a cake. To check out more recipes on the web, do a search for Italian meringue or cooked meringue. They're the same thing. Good luck! Oh, and that Martha Stewart recipe sounds weird to me. That's not her usual style.
The reason why i'm using this recipe is that I need one to demonstrate swiss meringue...I'll be doing the italian meringue at another date...
I tried a recipe from last month's gourmet that used the same technique, though less sugar (1/4 c per eggwhite) that worked great...no grit..
.i'm wondering if martha's recipe simply has too much sugar for whites to take on....here's a part of Martha's Heart-Shaped Meringues
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water, combine egg whites, granulated sugar, and salt. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the egg mixture is warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Attach bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Thanks for all the help
I suspect you've figured out the problem; too much sugar in the MS recipe. Any solution has a higher sugar saturation point at higher temperatures than at low, but with egg whites you can only go so high before they're cooked!. If you're determined to make the MS recipe work, then try reducing the sugar. Wouldn't it be the pits to discover all of your trouble has been over a simple typo?
I think your issue may be using a heatproof bowl. If the bowl is heat proof, then the heat from the double boiler will not raise the temperature of the mixture in the bowl. Use a metal bowl and it should work fine.
3/4 cup sugar does sound like too much for 2 egg whites. My rule of thumb is 1/4 cup sugar to 1 white for a Suisse meringue.