So I made the Lemon Meringue pie from the PPB the other night and the italian meringue completely flopped!! I piled it on and baked it around midnight, but by 6:30 a.m. the next morning, the poor sad meringue had fallen to about 1/4 inch. It looked more like frosting than meringue. I have done the italian meringue with success at least a half dozen times before, but never for a warm pie filling. My theory is that I got overconfident using the cream of tartar and overbeat the egg whites before adding the syrup. The first time I checked them, they were already at stiff peaks. When I tried spreading it on the pie, I wasn’t able to make the normal decorative swirls and tips—it was more like spreading thick frosting. So I kind of suspected it might be problematic.
Here’s another question - why does the “overbeating” problem not exist after the syrup is added? Rose says to beat for 2 minutes afterwards; Bakewise says to beat 10-13 minutes more after adding!
Also, why in this recipe does Rose specify only heating the sugar syrup to 236 (soft ball stage) rather than the 248-250 (firm ball) that I’ve seen in RHC and used previously? Could that also be the problem?
Finally - the filling was very good and the pie is all gone (half went to work and half got eaten at home), but since I used the 9 inch pyrex pan, it was pretty thick…it definitely needed that meringue for balance!