Chefs and homemakers swear by the effectiveness of 'ingredient substitution'. If you have spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, you would know that you can substitute almost everything in the kitchen with a single or combination of ingredients. Had it not been for substituting, you would either have to make unnecessary trips to the supermarket or compromise on the taste and flavor of the recipe, in absence of the ingredient. Meringue powder is one such ingredient, which is not found in every supermarket. As a result, you would often need to substitute it with something else. So, let us find out more about its substitutes available in your kitchen.
Meringue powder itself is a substitute for meringue. So, obviously the actual meringue would be the best substitute for it. But what is 'meringue' in the first place? It is basically a mixture of beaten egg whites and confectioner's sugar. It is most commonly used as a topping for pie recipes. It is also used for making hard icing, which holds on to its shape.
Meringue powder is made form dehydrated egg whites, sugar, gum, cornstarch, and an array of stabilizers and flavoring agents. You might wonder as to why to go for the powder, when you can easily make meringue at home? The reason is that there are several health risks associated with using a raw egg in a recipe. Salmonella risk is often associated with eating raw eggs. Hence, using meringue powder eliminates this risk. Moreover, it is very convenient to use and does not create a mess while baking.
Meringue powder is mostly an inseparable ingredient of royal icing, which is made on every important occasion especially at weddings. As a result, large number of people are likely to consume it. Making your recipe with raw eggs exposes such a large crowd to the risk of salmonella infection and food poisoning. It is particularly detrimental to small children and pregnant women. Hence, use of actual meringue is not advisable in such cases, more so, if you are unaware of the source of your eggs.
Meringue powder substitute for royal icing, in that case would be dried eggs. Dried eggs are basically dehydrated eggs, that are pasteurized just like the powder. Using them alleviates the risk of salmonella. Moreover, they are available in the baking aisle of every supermarket. While replacing meringue powder with them, always substitute 1 tbsp., of meringue powder with 2 tbsp. of powdered eggs. Do not alter the quantity of the water and proceed the recipe in usual way.
If you run out of all of your options, and you have no choice but to use raw eggs, always make sure you buy fresh eggs from a known source. One egg white equals to about 2 tbsp dried eggs. Similarly, 1 tbsp meringue powder mixed with an equal amount of water is equivalent to 1 egg white. For making 3 cups of royal icing, beat 3 egg whites with one pound of confectioner's sugar and a spoonful of vanilla. You will get a shiny, foamy texture which dries rock hard. If you want frosty icing, beat 1 tbsp. corn syrup per cup of royal icing. The icing dries, but does not become very hard, when you add corn syrup to it.
Thus, you can easily find a meringue powder substitute right in your kitchen or your nearest supermarket. If you are using dried egg powder as a substitute for it, always store it in a cool, dry place, to retain its texture.