I tried making meringues for the first time yesterday, using splenda instead of sugar. I didn't have any cream of tartar either. I definitely overbeat them, to the clumpy and a bit runny phase. I baked them anyway and they still tasted fine, they were just extremely crispy throughout.
Today I got some cream of tartar and tried again.
- 2 whites
- bit less than 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup splenda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
They seemed to be going very well through soft peaks, when I added the splenda in a few batches. Shortly after, the vanilla. Maybe it was the extract, but at that point it returned to a runny goop phase, still foamy but no peaks. Two more minutes of beating and it seemed good again, uniformly small bubbles and medium peaks. I stopped here so I wouldn't repeat my previous mistake.
I then put the meringue in a large ziploc bag to use for piping. As I began, I immediately noticed that it was again looking like the previous attempt. The bubbles were getting bigger and less uniform, and the inside of the bag showed collapsed runny whites all over. It was more foamy than creamy.
Where did I screw up this time around? Was the runnyness halfway through a warning sign? I imagine the extract could have added too much liquid.
Edit: The results
Today I got the chance to try again, and it was a success! (I think, they're in the oven...) I added a 1/4 tsp white vinegar as well, and replaced almost half the splenda with granulated sugar. I was worried because I didn't bother processing the sugar finer, but it seemed to do fine.
I added the sugar at around medium peaks, and it did collapse a little back to that runny stage, but not nearly as bad as the previous attempt. Another few minutes and I got them back, and then added the splenda and vanilla.
I made quenelles instead of piping, and it worked well. There was no weeping at all, not a single drop, and the foam stayed smooth throughout.