Mastering How to Make Sugar-Free Meringue with Video

Crunchy meringues. Something magical happens while glossy peaks of meringue slowly dry out in the heat of the oven that makes the cookie give way with a crunch before dissolving into sweet nothingness on your tongue. This perfection eluded me for ages until some three or so weeks ago when I shared with you crispy crunchy meringues.

Since then, I’ve been asked about other possibilities that include making these with agave nectar instead of honey as well as flavourings and variants such as chocolate chip. (We’ll get to that soon; I’m working on it.)

For purposes of making meringue SCD, I found that it’s best to make Italian meringue in which a hot syrup is added to softly whipped egg whites and beaten till stiff. It’s choice for those who are following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or are avoiding refined sugar in general and use honey as a sweetener.

I’ve tried making meringue with honey in its natural state and have not had exactly satisfactory results with it as honey is a humectant, which means that it holds moisture. Honey is also heavier than whipped egg whites and it would make it difficult to sufficiently fold it in without fear of deflating the egg whites.

In my recipe, the  meringue is made with a hot syrup using just honey and water and pouring that into soft peak egg whites, beating until stiff. Italian meringue is similar to candy making, specifically marshmallows, so it is more involved and needs precision. Despite being more involved, however, its execution is easy.

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How to Poach an Egg

I like poached eggs. They’re easy and one of the fastest ways to cook an egg – faster even than frying, I think. Plus they’re flavourful and can be eaten with just about anything (or on their own, with a bit of salt and pepper) and, unlike some other forms of cooked eggs, still taste good even once they’ve gone cold. As Julia Child once said, “Poached eggs…are to my mind, the purest and loveliest of ways to cook eggs.” And loveliest of ways to eat eggs, too, might I add.

There are many ways to poach eggs – there is really no right way, as everyone has their own preferences and opinions about what constitutes a properly poached egg. Some find the prospect of cracking an egg into a pot of boiling water daunting if they haven’t before or they’re beset by past, negative experiences. I’ve used the plastic wrap trick before, but it was sometimes messy and nowadays I prefer putting the egg directly in the water. I don’t have poaching cups or rings. Using plastic wrap is really more about shape, it doesn’t make poaching eggs any easier or harder, in my experience. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique of poaching eggs, it’s beautiful to observe: for a moment, the eggs look ethereal floating in the water.

Make sure the eggs you use are fresh, reasonably so. Most sources I’ve come across say that eggs shouldn’t be more than four days old, though that could be tricky to judge when you’re buying eggs from a grocery store or supermarket, so the best guideline is not use eggs with a sell-by life of four to five weeks.  As eggs age, the albumen or whites become watery, for lack of a better word, which makes it separate from the yolk and falls apart when poached. With fresh eggs, the white will stay close to the yolk and not spread thinly. You can see this difference when you crack a fresh egg, observing that the white surrounding the yolk is thicker than the outer white.

So without further ado, this is how I poach eggs.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil – I’m not strict about how much water, but guidelines generally state it should be a couple to a few inches. The size of the pot, and how much water, you use depends on how many poached eggs at a time you’re making.

2. Crack an egg into a bowl. For beginners or those who have not poached eggs before, this is easier than cracking the egg directly into the water, which requires a particular deftness. (Cracking the egg in a bowl also makes it easier for me to take pictures for this post than if I had to crack an egg into the water while holding the camera in my other hand. Imagine the catastrophe.)

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Flourless Pancake Flipping 101

Pancakes are one of those tricky fish when it comes to flipping, especially so when it comes to flipping the flourless variety. I was going to post something savoury today (click here for a sneak peek) but that will have to be tomorrow or later this week, since I’m taking charge to address the sometimes challenge of flipping flourless pancakes, focusing on banana pancakes, thanks to a comment that a reader left on the original post, asking for any tips on better flipping. I responded with my own comment, though I thought it would be best to expand and this is it.

I made a video and also took pictures for those who maybe can’t watch videos on YouTube (or any videos for that matter), depending where you are as you’re reading this or whatever you’re using to view this post doesn’t support it, etc., etc. Win-win for everyone! Plus, I include some additional detail and tips that are not in the video.

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