Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Star's Favorite Sweets: Meringues Topped with Lemon Cream and Fresh Berries

Meringues are melt in your mouth delicious - and topped with berries and cream are the perfect spring time dessert!  I love that I can whip these babies up any time because they require ingredients that I almost always have on hand and they are surprisingly simple to prepare.  Once baked, meringues are crunchy on the outside and bit chewy in the middle.  They are delicious by themselves as a fat free, low calorie snack or dessert; however, I prefer them topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Using my recipe you can make either one one large meringue, four individual dessert size ones or about fifteen minis that can be easily popped into your mouth :)  This recipe can also be easily doubled.

2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
A quarter teaspoon of white vinegar

Lemon/Berry Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons of lemon curd
1 1/2 cups fresh mixed berries
a bit of sugar

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  If making small meringues, use a drinking glass to trace circles onto a piece of parchment paper (if making a large meringue, use a bowl).  Flip the parchment paper over so that the circles are facing down but you can still see them through (you don't want ink on your meringues!) and place the parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

For the meringue, put the egg whites into a wide bowl and using a hand mixer, whisk until they are white, firm and glossy.  Add a third of the sugar and continue whisking until they are stiffer then add another third of the sugar.  Continue mixing for another minute or so.  Once the meringue is very stiff, add the remaining sugar, vanilla, and vinegar.

Spoon the meringue onto the parchment paper, using your circles as guides.  Make a slight indentation in the center of each.  Place in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 30 minutes or until they are firm.  Turn off the oven and leave them inside for about 30 minutes with the door slightly ajar before removing to cool completely.  Meringues must be cooled gradually; if they cool to quickly, they will deflate and crack.

To make the lemon cream simply whip the heavy cream until it reaches your desired consistency and stir in the lemon curd.  Add a bit of powdered sugar if you prefer a sweeter cream.  
I heated my berries for for a few minutes with about a tablespoon of sugar which created a bit of a sauce, but you could skip this step and leave the berries just as they are :)

Once the meringues have cooled, pile them high with the lemon cream and berries.  Enjoy!!

Happy Baking,


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