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EpicureanPiranha | May 7th, 2010 - 17:15
Meringues pink & green 06

Dainty, rose petal and pale mint green clouds ♥

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If you don’t have a recipe, just follow the General Ingredient Proportions given below and use either the Basic Meringue or the Swiss Meringue methods described here: Meringue Types & Techniques,

  • Use large, fresh eggs, at room temperature. If they are cold, place them in a bowl of hot water for 10-15 minutes or so, which will warm them up.
  • Your bowl and whisk or beaters should be perfectly clean and dry with no trace of fat. Fat will prevent egg whites from gaining their full volume.
  • There must not be any yolk in the whites. When separating yolks from whites, do so in a small, separate bowl. This way, if you accidentally break the yolk and get some in the white, you won’t have to throw away the whole lot and start over! This is because yolks are very rich in fat, and will prevent your egg whites from gaining their full volume.
  • Make sure that the sugar has been fully dissolved into the beaten egg whites, no matter which preparation technique you use to make your meringues. If you use the Basic Meringue method, you must add the sugar slowly and beat very well after each addition until all the sugar has dissolved. To test, when a small amount is rubbed between your index finger and your thumb, it should be perfectly silky with no grainy feel. Otherwise, your meringue will not rise properly.
  • If you want to make perfect meringues, bake them using the slow oven method described below.
Making meringue

Silky Swiss meringue whipped until almost stiff

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Line your baking sheets with baking parchment. If you need to use several baking sheets and more than one oven rack, place the racks in the upper two thirds of the oven, unless you are using a fan oven [in this case, space them evenly and make sure to lower the heat according to the suggested guidelines].

It’s preferable to bake your meringues when you will have time to leave them for 6 to 8 hours to dry out in the oven. You will then use a slow oven method [very low baking temperature] as described below.

If you don’t have much time but really want to make meringues, then you need to cook them much more quickly at a high temperature. This method of baking usually produces cracks and softer meringues, so they won’t be as perfect. But for some desserts this technique looks very attractive, for example if you are filling the meringue with cream and berries or another filling. Just be careful not to break the meringue when lifting it off the parchment paper, because it will be fragile.

Meringue disks - ready to be baked

Piped “Basic Meringue” disks – ready to be baked.

So, depending on how you plan to use your meringues, and on how much time you have before serving them:

  • You can bake them quickly:

Preheat the oven to 140°C [275°F]. Bake for 1 1/2 hours [or about 50 minutes if making small shapes] until crisp. Then turn off the oven immediately, but leave the meringues in the oven for 1 hour to dry. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the baking sheets.

Meringue a la creme de marrons

A “basic” meringue case baked using the “rapid method” ~ It’s much more fragile than when baked using the slow method, but looks pretty for this dessert.

  • Or, if you have the time for the “slow oven” method, this is the Best of the Two!:

Preheat the oven to 150°C [300°F]. As soon as the meringues are in the oven, turn down the heat to 120°C [250°F]. Bake for 1 hour [or a little less if making small shapes]. Then turn off the oven immediately, but leave the meringues in the oven until completely cold, overnight or for a minimum of 5 – 6 hours.

Baked meringue stars

Baked pastel pink Swiss Meringue stars. You can see they have a slightly silky, beautiful shiny finish. And the pale pastel pink does not change very much in the baking process.

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  • Sugar: The proportion of sugar to egg whites sometimes varies slightly from one recipe to the next. Just follow the recipe, or if you prefer just follow this simple guideline: for every 2 large egg whites, use 115 g (½ c) sugar. So for 3 egg whites you would use 170 g (¾ c) sugar. For 4 egg whites, use 225 g (1 c) sugar.
  • Salt: For every 6 large egg whites you would use 0.6 ml (1/8 tsp) of salt;  for 12 large egg whites use 1.25 ml (¼ tsp) of salt.
  • Cream of Tartar: If used, then every 3 large egg whites add 1.25 ml (¼ tsp) of cream of tartar.

Notes:

  • If you are using a recipe based on Imperial measurements, then sugar or castor sugar refers to white, granulated sugar we use here in North America.
  • The Metric measurements are correct. They are not perfect multiples due to rounding [because otherwise conversions result in odd amounts].
Meringue & chocolate Valentine cones

Swiss Meringue “kisses” (meringues sandwiched with dark 70% chocolate) Valentine cones

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If making a meringue shell to hold ice cream or a mousse and some fruit, it doesn’t have to be a large round case. Prepare a square or rectangular shape, or small individual boxes. Pipe out small, decorative shapes to use as decorations on cakes and pastry or even cream pies.

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Meringues keep very well. If you don’t eat them all right away, you can:

  • Place them in an airtight container at room temperature. Provided they are very dry, they will keep perfectly for several weeks.
  • Place them in an air-tight container and freeze them.

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  • If you want to make small nests or small meringue kisses of a specific size, you can trace shapes on the underside of parchment paper using a pencil. Leave enough space between the shapes because the meringues tend to spread a little as they bake. Turn the paper over and place on the baking sheet, then using a large pastry bag fitted with a large nozzle, start in the middle and pipe out the meringue into the desired shape. If you don’t have a pastry bag or large enough nozzle, just spoon the meringue and spread it out evenly.
  • If you need lots of whites to prepare your meringue and do not have an immediate need for the egg yolks, then buy liquid pasteurised egg whites which are available in most larger supermarkets. These are extremely convenient, much less expensive than using whole eggs, are sold in small or medium-sized cartons, and can be frozen [NB: there should be no added ingredients!]. If using, use the measurement for large egg whites.
  • Do not let uncooked beaten egg whites stand for too long, or they will lose their volume and no amount of beating will fix it! A Swiss or Italian meringue preparation that has been beaten until firm and glossy can wait a little longer as it tends to be more stable.

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  1. Syros says:

    Fantastic guide!

  2. Sue says:

    Wow Marie …fantastic tips…
    Finally having some time to leave you messages

    Will visit more often
    beautiful and efficient web site

    Love Sue

    • Hey Sue! What a lovely surprise to find you here :-) I’m so happy to know a fine baker like yourself enjoys my webzine – a great compliment!

      Glad to know you’ll be visiting soon!

      Hugs & kisses,

      ~ Epi xxx

  3. dbutali66 says:

    mmmh, seems to be very good recipe!!

    Hi MArie,
    so how do you do?

    i know you are very busy with all your things…
    hope you are fine.

    bye
    david

    • Hi David! You knew where to find me! Thank you – these recipes maked delicious, perfect meringues :-) I’ve used them to make all the lovely meringues you see here on EpicureanPiranha.com and in my photostream on flickr.com.

      I’m good thank you! Just so much to do !!!

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