High Altitude Pie Baking Question

Asked January 28, 2015, 3:18 PM EST

I live in Denver and want to make a chocolate angel pie with a baked meringue crust. I know that whipped meringue is tricky at this altitude (my mom's weeps sometimes, other times not) and I've never attempted baked meringue. What if any modifications would you recommend? Also, the most promising recipe I found says bake the meringue at 300 for 50 minutes and cool completely. Another recipe says 275 for 2.5 hours and a 3rd says preheat to 400, put crust in, and turn oven off. Help, and thank you.

Denver County Colorado high altitude food preparation

1 Response

Meringue toppings do pose a challenge at altitude. According to Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy, do the following for baking a meringue pie at 5,000 ft. Note-for higher altitudes, further adjustments would need to be made.

1. Make stabilizer gel by heating in a small saucepan: 2 T. sugar, 1 T. cornstarch and 1/2 cup water; dissolve cornstarch, whisk for 2-3 minutes over high heat until mixture bubbles, starts to thicken and looks almost clear. Don’t overcook the gel or it will be too thick. Remove from heat, transfer to small bowl and cool.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Depending on type of pie, bake pie crust (~7-8 min. at 350°F) on center rack.

3. Whip 6 large egg whites (room temperature) with electric mixer, adding ½ tsp. cream of tartar and 1/8 tsp. salt on medium speed just until foamy. Gradually whip in ¾ c. sugar, mix on high just until see beater tracks on top of the whites. Stir gently, then slowly whip in ½ tsp. vanilla extract and the cooled gel stabilizer. Beat until ALMOST still peaks-tips fall over slightly (do not overbeat!) Whites should be thick, glossy and smooth.

3. Prepare pie filling; top with meringue and bake pie at 350°F for time indicated. At 5,000 ft, brown meringue ~18-23 min.

Hope this helps. Thanks for using eXtension.