a leap of faith: boiling syrup for an Italian meringue

boiling syrup: a leap of fait

we’ve only just met.
And I’m interested in your hands…
Cold enough? Are they cold enough for a leap of faith?

We’re making the usual small talk:
life, work, sugar and chocolate
How long have you been studying the magic of the desserts
Oh yes, I have that cookbook in my kitchen, too
covered in flour, butter, eggs and soup!

At the stove now. Things getting warmer.
Temperatures rising. Clean pan. clean sugar, cold water no stirring.
bring to a boil. Quickly now!
And your hands – are they HOT or COLD?

You see, it matters, don’t you realise?
When you finally take the plunge, you WILL understand
it’s about the temperature and about the timing.
118C is the heat and 118C is the moment

Elsewhere egg whites whisking… Can you hear the mixer?

and I know that we’ve only just met.
but your hands, are they cold enough?
Are they cold enough for a leap of faith?

Watch me now, dip my fingers into the bowl of icy water, (it hurts, I know it does!) then into the boiling syrup and quickly back into the bowl of icy water.
It’s not a trick. Watch again. Now you try.

Shaking your head… Everyone does it, too. I’ve seen it many times. I understand that feeling!

But this is where you need to trust me.
Trust the moment. trust the chemistry of the meringue. The Italian Meringue.
Place your fingers in the icy water, dip your fingertips in the syrup, yes that’s right, the boiling syrup, take a little between your fingertips and quickly back into that bowl of icy water.

Watch how it forms a soft sticky thread. That means it’s not quite ready. We’re waiting for it to become a soft ball in our fingers. That soft ball tells us that the syrup is ready. At a temperature of about 118C, warmer than sunshine, but cooler than the sun.

One more time, follow my lead, watch, repeat, tell me when you think it’s ready.
We’re done – let’s get this meringue finished!

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