About Egg Whites
May 5, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
It always seems nothing short of miraculous how a small pool of transparent egg white can whip up to a billowy white cloud of meringue...or not!
I once took for granted that it was common knowledge that egg white will not beat if there is even the tiniest speck of fat in contact with it. But then I visied my favorite older cousin, who I thought knew everything, and was amazed to have her ask me why her egg white wouldn't beat. So I want to share the simple but all important details and discoveries I have made that will ensure success every time.
There are three important things to know about egg white.
1. The bowl and beater(s) must be free of fat. If you are not using a dishwasher, give them a rinse with water and a little vinegar.
2. Use exactly 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for 1 egg white/2 tablespoons/1 ounce/30 grams and you will never risk overbeating the whites. (Overbeating turns them dry and grainy and causes them to curdle and deflate when folding them into other mixtures.) Add the cream of tartar as soon as the beaten egg white begins to foam--after about 1 minute of beating. Start on low speed (or medium-low if using a small amount of egg white) and gradually bring the speed up to medium high. Note: more cream of tartar than the amount specified will have the opposite effect!
3. Pasteurized egg white such as from Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs makes an exceptionally stable meringue. It is similar to a Swiss meringue which involves heating the egg white over a double boiler before beating. (During the pasteurization process the egg white is heated which results in the same effect). Pasteurized egg white, however, will not beat to a stiff meringue unless either cream of tartar or lemon juice is added. You will need double the cream of tartar for pasteurized eggs: for 1 pasteurized egg white/ 2 tablespoons/2 ounces/30 grams use 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Start beating on low speed (or medium-low if using a small amount of egg white) and gradually bring the speed up to high. It will take longer than egg white that has not been pasteurized but trust me, beat long enough and you'll have meringue looking like this!
You don't even need the usual amount of sugar to achieve this creamy texture. In fact, instead of double sugar to egg white by volume I used only 1/3 the volume! Here's my new recipe!
3 large egg whites from Safest Choice Pasteurized eggs: 6 tablespoons/3 fluid ounces/3.2 ounces/90 grams
cream of tartar: 3/4 teaspoon
sugar, preferably superfine: 2 tablespoons/1 ounce/25 grams
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, starting on medium-low speed, beat the egg whites for about 1 minute or until they foam. Stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar. Continue beating, gradually raising the speed to high. When the whites begin to thicken, gradually add the sugar. Continue beating for 5 to 10 minutes or until a thick meringue forms.