Fresh summer fruits and berries are a dessert maker’s delight. Cool, colorful and light they are the perfect compliment to any warm weather meal without doing a thing to them. But with a minimal amount of work they can also become a stunning offering of charm and elegance to send a meal over the top. What I am describing is a Pavlova-like cream filled meringue that showcases a few choice favorite fruits as a breathtaking jewel of a dessert, a striking finale to any lunch or dinner that can take the meal from ordinary to sublime.
Fresh Fruit Meringue
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract pure
- ½ tsp. cream of tartar or
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar or
- white vinegar distilled
- 1 ½ tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups sugar granulated
- Pinch salt
- fresh fruits Assorted
- whipped cream
- Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pour the vanilla and vinegar (if using) into a small cup.
- Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar (if using) and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/ trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
- Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture.
- A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn’t use cream of tartar.)
- Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue into rounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner.
- With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
- Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250° Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white—not tan colored or cracked. (The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency.)
- Check on meringues during the baking time.
- If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
- Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
- Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.
- Serve topped with whipped cream and crushed or whole berries and your choice of assorted fruits.