Along with warmer weather and later sunsets, a nice complement to the evening is sitting outside on my balcony enjoying a light and healthy dessert. Merengue is made by beating egg whites to a stiff peak and baking them on a very low temperature for a long time. While chocolate goes incredibly well with merengue, a lighter and healthier alternative is to add berries.
To make merengues:
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1 cup white sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. With the whipping attachment on a mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. Add 2/3 cup of sugar. Beat egg whites until very stiff. Fold in the rest of the sugar and vanilla.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With a pencil and either a cookie cutter or a glass, draw 8 circles on the parchment paper approximately 3 1/2 inches round. Place the parchment paper pencil side down onto the baking sheet.
With a large star tip fill in With a large star – shaped pastry tip, pipe a disk of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
If you won’t be using the merengue cups right away, they will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
I topped my cups with roasted and fresh berries. To roast berries combine 3 cups of fresh berries with 1/4 cup of sugar or a sugar substitute.
Add the seeds from one whole vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. The moisture from the berries combined with the sugar will create a syrupy consistency when roasted. I then topped the roasted berries with fresh slices of strawberry.