4 large egg whites (1/2 cup) or 1/2 cup refrigerated pasteurized egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup plus about 2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries (or some of each)
1 cup whipping cream
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 225°.
In a large bowl, with a mixer (preferably fitted with wire-whisk attachment) on high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping sides of bowl occasionally, until stiff, shiny peaks form (see tip 2 below).
Line two 12- by 15-inch baking sheets with cooking parchment or coat sheets with cooking-oil spray or butter. Mound meringue in eight equal portions (a scant 1/2 cup for each) on sheets, spacing at least 3 inches apart. Shape each into a 4-inch round (follow tip 3 below).
Bake in preheated oven until meringues sound hollow when tapped and feel firm to the touch, about 1 1/2 hours (1 1/4 hours in convection heat); switch sheet positions halfway through baking. Turn heat off and leave meringues in closed oven until completely cool, 2 to 2 1/2 hours longer. Remove from sheets.
Shortly before serving, rinse and drain berries; pat dry with a towel. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat whipping cream just until soft peaks form. Turn mixer to low and beat in sugar to taste (about 2 tablespoons).
Set meringues on dessert plates. Top with whipped cream and berries.
Tips for the perfect meringue
A wire-whisk attachment introduces air evenly into whites and creates small bubbles, which are both stronger and more flexible. Make sure the bowl and beaters are clean; any fat can interfere with the formation of the foam.
Beating the whites with an acid, like cream of tartar or vinegar, helps coagulate the egg-white protein. You want stiff, shiny peaks. The mixture should feel smooth when you rub it between your fingers.
Shape meringue mixture into bowl-shaped rounds with a small, thin spatula. The edges should be a little higher than the centers.
We had some friends from our college days over for dinner last night and they brought this fun dessert. The recipe came from this site. Enjoy!