I recently became obsessed with meringue. First, our book club had a holiday potluck where an incredibly delicious meringue dessert was served. Then daughter #2 left for a semester in Ireland– where I spent some of my own student days stuffing myself with cream meringues. Finally, Valentine’s Day is coming–doesn’t that cry out for Strawberry Meringue Cups?
The meringue cup part of this is based on a recipe from Ina Garten and was surprisingly easy. I first tried filling them with strawberry curd which was good but not quite right. Next, I made a simple topping of whipped cream mixed with strawberries which everyone loved. Finally I did a version topped with Strawberry Greek yogurt–talk about making indulgence (reasonably) healthy. All that you need to finish is a garnish of fresh raspberries.
The only thing remotely tricky is piping the meringue, but having done these three times without a single failure, don’t be afraid. You start by drawing circles on parchment paper with a pencil (& flip the paper over).
Next you beat egg whites with sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla.
Then you spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip & pipe out a circle. Continue piping to create the sides of the cup.
Finally you bake them and let them sit for four hours or overnight to firm up.
I even tried one without the pastry bag and star tip. You can place the meringue into a zip loc bag and cut out the corner and use this like a pastry bag. Not quite as fancy but effective. Just in case you don’t have the official equipment and have to have these at midnight.
What advice do I have? First, don’t overfill the pastry bag– fill it part way, then refill it if it doesn’t hold all the meringue. I overfilled it the first time to try to get it all in and it squished out the top–not pretty. Second, the recipe calls for drawing circles on parchment as a guide, then flipping the (semi-transparent) paper over. If you forget to do this, you will be scrapping pencil marks off the bottoms of your meringues (ask me how I know this).
Finally, if you happen to have a little leftover meringue, you can pipe out a few “kisses” into the margins of the parchment. These are great for snacking!
Happy Valentine’s Day. Or any day you feel like strawberries and meringue!
- • 4 egg whites
- • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- • 1 cup granulated sugar
- • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- • 1 cup heavy cream
- • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- • 1 teaspoon vanilla
- • 1 pint strawberries (frozen or fresh), pureed in blender
- Fresh berries for garnish if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 12 (2 1/2-inch) circles on the parchment. Turn the paper face down on the baking sheets.
- Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla, then gradually add the sugar and beat on high speed until the egg whites form very stiff peaks.
- 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.
- Beat the whipping cream until stiff, then beat in vanilla and powdered sugar. Fold in pureed strawberries.
- For serving, place each meringue on a separate plate and top the shell with whipped cream mixed with berry puree. Garnish with fresh berries if desired.
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