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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Meringue Cupcakes with Cream of Tartar

    Hi, i am planning to make chocolate merigue cupcakes for a party. I have made many merigues succesfully with Nigella's instructions and people adore the squidgy centers of the chocolate pavlova and the passion fruit pavlova. However, my recipe for meringue cupcakes calls for the use of cream of tartar in the meringue and not vineger (as Nigella uses). Will I still be able to achieve the squidgy centers for the meringue topping on the cupcakes? I have never used cream of tartar before and don't want my meringue toppings to turn out like those horrid dried out meringues that you can buy from the supermarket. Regards Dawn

    From the nigella team:

    Cream of tartar is fine to use to achieve the softer, mallowy centres in meringue cupcakes. Cream of tartar is acidic, like vinegar and lemon juice, and it is acid that acts on the proteins in the egg whites so that when the meringues are baked the centres remain soft.

    We would also suggest that you check the oven temperatures and baking times of the meringue cupcake recipes. Meringues with softer centres should have higher oven temperatures and shorter cooking times than recipes where the meringue is crisp - crisp meringues are achieved by completely drying out the meringue mixture. Pavlovas are usually baked at 150-180c (300-350F) for anything up to 1 hour, whereas crisp meringues will be baked at 110c (220F) or below and will generally be baked for 2-3 hours or longer.

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