Do you make a dessert that is frequently requested or one that you wish you could enjoy more often?
Last week we celebrated my son’s birthday. In my house, my kids…all adults now…get to choose the menu. Time and again crispy, melty meringues with fresh fruit and whipped cream is chosen over birthday cake. We simply place a candle in the dessert and sing Happy Birthday….non-traditional but delightful. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this easy recipe.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. It’s just fine to draw freehand but, as a guide, I trace eight 3 inch circles on each. I use an empty glass jam jar as a template. Be sure to turn the paper over so that the pencil marks don’t get absorbed into the meringues.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F
In a large glass bowl, whisk together until stiff peaks form (I use a mixer)
4 egg whites (at room temperature) and ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Very slowly add 1 cup of white granulated sugar, a little at a time, until the peaks are very stiff and the sugar is dissolved (this will take about 8 to 10 minutes)
Place a large dollop of meringue mixture (about the size of one over-stuffed tablespoon) on a circle. Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture around to form a nest trying to stay close to the lines as the nests will spread to about 4 inches when baking. Continue until all of the circles have been filled.
Bake at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Increase the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for 20 more minutes.
Turn the oven off, open the door and let the nests stand in the oven for another 40 minutes.
Remove from the parchment when cool.
Store in a cool, dry place.
Just before serving, fill with fresh fruit and top with whipped cream. I made the one shown with strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, and blueberries. I slice them up and mix with about a tablespoon of sugar and 2 tsp. of fresh lemon juice to bring out the flavours. I add 2 tbsp. of icing sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla to 2 cups of whipping cream and whip until stiff with a mixer. The fruit salad and whipped cream can be made the morning of your party and refrigerated.
The secret to making meringues is to check the humidity. They are best made on a dry, sun-shiny day. If there is too much humidity, they’ll still look great and melt in your mouth but you may need a knife and fork to cut them. Your guests won’t mind and will delight in the bursts of flavour of your delicious dessert.