Introduction: Full-Size Edible Meringue Skull
DIY Meringue Skull from Scratch
Surfing the internet I ran across a silicone mold of a skull. --- It was lifesize (or even slightly larger).
Wow - What possibilities....
I could make a skull cake, or jello skull (see my instructable showing opaque jello), or an ice skull.... lots of options.
Then my mind went to Meringue!... Yes, MERINGUE - That egg white stuff, the crunchy variety.
Meringue is white like bone, light weight, and is yummy to eat!
AND unfortunately Fragile... It breaks easily.
Can you bake meringue in a mold?
YES you can!
After some research I realized that a meringue skull would probably not succeed if I filled the mold full, so I decided to pipe meringue onto the sides of the mold making a thin walled skull.
IT WORKED !!!
Silicone Skull Mold
Skull Mold found on Amazon. I'm sure there are others out on the internet.
Meringue (this recipe)
6 Egg Whites
1 Cup Granulated or Caster Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Store-bought White Decorating Icing, in tube
Edible Colored Marking Pens for Food
~2 Cups Powdered Sugar
Milk for Proper Consistency
Step 1: Separate Egg Whites
For this project you will need 6 egg whites.
You can separate egg whites the traditional way and use the egg shell to jostle the egg yolk back and forth or you can try any of these methods:
1. The spring type separator.
2. The type similar to a small measuring cup with slots and/or holes in it.
2. A commercial suction type; Pluck from Quirky.
3. Or use a soda or water bottle as a suction separator; the method I show above.
Squeeze the water bottle and place the mouth in contact with the yolk. Decrease pressure on the bottle and the yolk will be pulled inside. Squirt the yolk out into a bowl for yolks.
It is a good idea to place the white into a separate container and then transfer it to a larger bowl with the other egg whites. This way if a yoke breaks it will not spoil all the whites that you have already separated.
A lesson learned the hard way :-(
Step 2: Make Meringue
This recipe held promise for a hard, crispy meringue, which is what I wanted. And it worked fabulously!
Make sure the bowl and mixing attachments are free of oil or grease as it will cause the egg whites to not whip to their potential.
Whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks start to form. Then, while mixer is running, add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time and whisk until stiff peaks form. Feel the meringue between your fingers to make sure you do not feel any gritty undissolved sugar. Beat in vanilla extract.
You will add powdered sugar in the next step.
Step 3: Fold in the Powdered Sugar
Fold in the powdered sugar into the egg whites by hand, a tablespoon at a time. Getting too vigorous can reduce the quality of the meringue as it will knock air out of it, so take your time.
Step 4: Fill Piping Bag
Scoop the meringue into a piping bag or, as I do, a gallon ziplock bag.
Trim the corner of the bag about 1/4 inch from the tip to provide the opening for the meringue.
Step 5: Pipe a Thin Layer Over Inside of Mold
Carefully pipe a thin layer of meringue over the mold starting at the lowest point. Make sure to evenly apply meringue, making sure not to trap any air bubbles next to the mold. The meringue should be about 3/8 inch thick.
Be careful not to go thicker as the skull will not turn out. My first attempt had the meringue too thick. The meringue had the sugar separate out, liquify, and pool in the bottom of the mold, ruining the skull.
After the mold is coated take a straight edge and drag it across the top of the mold to make sure the meringue is level and that there aren't any 'bumps' sticking up.
Step 6: Bake
To give the mold support I placed the silicone mold onto a cooling rack and then placed that cooling rack onto the oven rack. Do not place the mold onto a baking sheet or the bottom meringue will not cook properly.
Bake at 170 degrees fahrenheit for 4 hours.
At the end of 4 hours turn off the oven but do not open the oven door or remove the skull. Let the oven cool to room temperature taking as long as needed.
Rushing the cooling can cause cracks in the meringue.
Step 7: Remove Skull From Mold
A more fitting description would be: Remove the mold from the skull.
This is probably the most difficult part of making the skull. The meringue skull is very fragile.
Loosen the mold from the meringue by pulling the mold slightly away from the meringue all around the skull. Then you have to carefully pull the edge of the mold downward peeling it off of the cooked meringue. Be careful to equally distribute force on the meringue. Gently push up on the bottom center of the skull while carefully and slowly pulling down the sides of the mold.
I suggest removing the mold from the back half of the skull first as it lets you practice on an area where any errors will have less visible consequences.
There was a lot of residue left in the mold which indicates sticking. I thought about using some type of cooking spray or other lubricant but I was afraid that the meringue would just slide off the sides of the mold and not hold its shape.
Step 8: Repair the Breakage
Invariably tragedy strikes and the skull breaks. I had the back half shatter into several pieces.
Use the Decorating Icing to 'glue' the pieces back together and use as hole filling material.
Let your repairs dry several hours.
Step 9: 'Glue' the Halves Together
Test fit the halves together. Even though the meringue was leveled with the top of the mold before backing, the silicone mold flexes and there can be uneven spots where the skull halves don't sit flat on each other. I smoothed out any high spots with a Microplane zester / grater that acts like a rasp.
Apply Decorating Icing to the bottom half of the skull, align the pieces, and 'glue' the pieces together with light pressure.
Let the skull dry for several hours before handling.
FYI - Skull at this stage weighs 324 g / 11.4 oz.
Step 10: Decision Time!
Decision Time - Stop now and be FINISHED, or try another step?
Does the skull look good (enough) as is? Is the surface too rough?
Should I coat the skull with something to make it smooth?
I wanted the skull to look more smooth and finished so I decided I wanted to coat it with something.
I considered coating the skull with melted sugar at hard-crack stage, 300 degrees fahrenheit. It would probably melt the meringue....
What temperature does Isomalt melt at? A Higher one... :-(
I probably could have used fondant but if I used fondant it might as well have been cake underneath, and where's the challenge in that ;-).
Hmmm what about a sugar glaze?
I think I'll try it!
I made a glaze by taking powdered sugar and adding just enough milk to get the syrupy sugar to the right consistency. Add milk in small amounts to not overshoot the consistency you want.
I tried to get the glaze as thick as possible but still pour and self-level. I had to experiment with small amounts of glaze several times to get a consistency that worked well.
Step 11: Glaze the Meringue Skull
I placed the skull on a wire cooling rack situated in a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper. I poured the sugar glaze over the skull and used a large spoon to apply extra glaze where needed. I used the end of the spoon handle to scoop out excess glaze from the eye sockets and nose recess.
Let the glazed skull dry for several days before decorating / handling.
Step 12: Transformation -> Day of the Dead
Take the skull and decorate using the Edible Colored Marking Pens.
Be careful to use light pressure to keep from breaking through the sugar glaze. In addition, the markers can dissolve the sugar if the pen is kept in the same place too long, or the same location is repeatedly gone over without allowing time for drying in between.
The internet is a good source of Day of the Dead artwork inspiration to guide your skull decorating.
Step 13: Admire - Enjoy - Celebrate
Congratulations on your full-size Day-of-the-Dead Meringue Skull.
P.S. Remember the skull is all edible. So enjoy eating the fruits of your labor.
I was thinking that candy could be sealed inside and the skull used as some type of pinata....
See what to do with any extra meringue in next step.
Step 14: Extra Meringue - Ghosts!
Extra meringue can be repurposed into meringue 'kisses' or formed into ghosts.
Use the edible marking pens to give the ghosts eyes and a favorite expression.
Participated in the