This gorgeous baked meringue with cream and berries is luscious, velvety, and crunchy at all once! This rustic free-form dessert reminds me of a lovely piece of art almost too precious to eat. The optimal word here is “almost.”
Who can resist a crunchy exterior and soft marshmallowy center of a sweet meringue?
People are often “afraid” of meringue because of its unpredictable tendencies. It reminds me of my hair – you never know what you’re going to get.
The thing is there are things you can do to make meringue a more predictable – comparable to great hair products!
Tips for No-Fail Meringue
- Make sure to make meringue in squeaky clean equipment. No fat must touch the egg whites. It causes the eggs to deflate.
- Always work with one egg at the time in two separate bowls — one for the yolk and one for whites making sure NO yolks mix with the whites.
- Use room temperature eggs. They whip much better.
- It’s not a must, but if you have a copper bowl, use it. The reaction of copper and egg whites tend to make a more stable foam.
- A pinch of cream of tarter will help stabilize the egg whites leaving less room for deflation of foam.
- Use large fine-wired whisks.
- Don’t over-whisk the egg whites.
- Cook meringue at higher temperatures to decrease likelihood of beading.
- To add browning to the meringue, you can use a torch or turn the temperature up for the last 3 minutes of cooking to 500 degrees.
- Eat meringue the day you make it, especially if you live in humid environments, hence the South! Humidity is an enemy of meringue.
For more tips for no fail meringue on pies, check out another one of my favorite meringue recipes: Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie.
Gorgeous Baked Meringue with Cream and Berries
- For the Meringue
- 8 large eggs
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
- 1 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- For the Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 vanilla pod cut lengthwise and scraped of seeds
- For the Berry Sauce
- 3 cups fresh seasonal blackberries raspberries, strawberries, or a mixture
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 sugar depending on your taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a half baking sheet (18” x 12”) with parchment paper.
- Add egg whites (making sure no yolk or fat has been introduced to the egg whiteto a spotlessly clean bowl. Beat the egg whites on medium-speed until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and continue beating. With the mixer still running, in a slow steady stream add the sugar. When all the sugar has been added, beat an additional 7 to 8 minutes. Egg whites should be very glossy, stiff, and smooth, but not dry. Be careful not to allow the meringue to collapse. It’s ready when you pinch a little between your fingers and the meringue is completely smooth.
- Place a small dollop of meringue on the corners of clean parchment paper then turn it over and place it on the sheet pan (you’re using the meringue as glue). Spoon the remaining meringue onto the parchment paper making a rectangle. Swirl the meringue with the back of your spoon to form little peaks over the top that will brown very nicely and crevices and peaks to the meringue. Place in the oven and bake for about an hour or until meringue is golden and a little stiff on the outside.
- While the meringue is baking, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla seeds until thick, smooth, and forms very soft peaks.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 2 cups of berries, 1/4 cup of water and the sugar to a simmer over medium-heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and berries are cooked through. Turn off the heat and add the 1/2 of the remaining berries to the mixture and gently incorporate. Save the remaining berries to sprinkle over the top of the meringue.
- If the meringue is done (slightly goldeand you want a little more color turn up the oven to 500 degrees and allow to brown for 2 minutes or so. Remove the meringue and allow to cool. Place the meringue on a platter or serve it straight from the parchment paper. Spoon the cream mixture in dollops all over the meringue. Drizzle the berry sauce over the meringue and cream then strategically place the remaining fresh fruit on top of the meringue.
- If you are making this ahead, assemble right before serving. Serve this dessert the day that you make it so the meringue doesn’t get sticky.
- Note: You can make this dessert with frozen berry mix. For the berry sauce, add the berries to the saucepan along with the sugar (save a few berries back for added texture). Omit the water from the above recipe. Bring berries to a simmer. Add vanilla and remaining berries.