Originally Posted by itsacake
I too remember the days when no one worried about raw egg whties. We made the most amazing mousses in those days!
Maybe you know this-- I've been wondeirng. I was under the impression that getting the sugar syrup to a specific temperature had to do with the consistency of the finished buttercream. I didn't think it had anything to do with the safety of the eggwhites. Do you know if this is the case?
It just occurred to me that for small batches of royal, made by hand for stirngwork, pastueurized egg whites might be adequate. Earlene did say that royal made with real raw egg white and stirred slowly with a fork instead of beaters is better for string work, but she also said that the lemon juice and the fact that it gets dry should be sufficient protection from salmonella. I'd still rather not chance it with regular raw egg white. What do you think?
By the way, I do use that famous decorator's gumpaste recipe. Guess what? I use dried egg whites. I do find the recipe a little dry and so I like to mix 2/3 of that recipe with 1/3 of Bakels Pettinice Gumpaste. Pettinice won't dry for anything, so the combination of the two works well for me. I would think that it might have something to do with the dried whites, but when an instructor I had made the recipe in class, she used eggs from the shell and I found it even dryer, so I don't think that's it.
Haha, well first of all, the temperature of 160F is strictly the temperature that the egg itself must reach to kill off the salmonella bacteria, nothing to do at all with how the egg whites will or won't react when making these kinds of icings. And if the syrup is a gazillion degrees high, haha, it doesn't matter to the egg whites unless the egg whites reach 160F to kill off the salmonella and that was the point I was making. If you are pouring a small amount of really hot syrup gradually over egg whites, a lot of the heat is dissipated into the bowl itself and other ingredients and such so that it doesn't mean necessarily that the egg whites themselves will actually reach 160F. The only way to know that for sure is when they are cooked in a pot and the temperature of the mixture they are in reaches that temperature.
So that is one concern and that is what folks have been misinformed about.
Yes, the temperature of the sugar syrup and whether it is at soft ball stage or higher etc, really has to do with how the meringue will turn out, about how the syrup will be of a certain consistency that is compatible with the egg whites and will effect the right reaction and change and consistency. Very similar to candy making and such.
Well, everything I have read from egg producers and food safety experts appears to dispute Earlene's theory, at present time, but she is not alone in her beliefs. I greatly admire her and I find that she does normally give wonderful information, but in this case, I am not so sure she is correct.
I think you can experiment with the egg beaters, pasteurized egg white or dried eggs or meringue powder and I think that each product produces different results. I even find that egg whites themselves are not consistent at all. I find that every recipe whether it is Royal Icing or any of the meringue type icings, or even meringue topping for a pie, varies slightly every time you make it. I find of all of the things we work with, anything with egg whites is the least consistent. I find Royal Icing absolutely the worst thing for not being consistent, the weather has such a huge effect on it. I have my temperature fixed at 70F and I control the humidity in the house and still, if it has been really humid or raining or snowing outside for several days, I will have trouble with my egg white based icings.
My understanding of these other meringue icings is that as long as you reach a temperature of at least 230F you should obtain the correct consistency. I don't venture to say much more specific than that as all of the recipes vary somewhat and every other day there is yet another expert with yet another, "best meringue type icing" These recipes or variations of them have been around for many moons longer than any of us have been alive. There is nothing original about them, just slight variations on the same old theme.
Haha, I guess I am not one to be impressed by who is recommending which recipe or which book or which decorator a recipe comes from. I find that you can usually get excellent recipes from sources that you trust and I don't find that just because someone is an "in decorator" that they necessarily know what they are talking about.
Haha, Itsacake, I sort of figure you wouldn't be using the egg whites called for in that gumpaste recipe!
I would have to say that for my own home use, I have absolutely no qualms about using raw egg whites in things like these. But I would really be concerned with liability issues especially if I lived in the U.S., so I avoid sending anything like these recipes outside of the home unless the eggs are actually cooked. Better safe than sorry.
One last thing, your eggs should be at least 3-4 days old before you consider using the whites for meringues as anything before that and they are too fresh to get the volume and consistency you need.
Hugs Squirrely Cakes