On mother’s day, I personally think there should be over-the-top displays of appreciation and beauty. This will come in the form of children helping their mom plant flowers in the garden, cleaning the garage, a foot massage, a favorite meal (basically anything cooked by someone else) and, of course, a gorgeous dessert. After eating the before mentioned favorite meal, she may long for something light and ethereal. Meringues. This is one easy recipe, served three different ways. It can be made by children of all ages, maybe with a little help from dad. By adding flavors to the meringue, you can personalize the dessert.
If you spread the whipped meringue into three disks, then stack them high on a pedestal, with a touch of whipped cream and berries, you have a cake fit for a mom…
Or you can fold some coconut into the meringue, spoon it into little clouds to take on a picnic…
Add strawberries sauce and it is the perfect way to say “Mom, you ROCK!”
6 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Optional flavors for meringues:
1 teaspoon rose water and 2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
something else you’ve dreamed up…leave me a note of what it is, so I can try it.
1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup sugar (you may need more if the strawberries aren’t very sweet)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
To prepare the meringue:
Preheat your oven to 300°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment.
In a stand mixer, fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until just foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat the whites until they are soft peaks (the whites will droop when the whip is picked up). With the mixer turned to slow speed, add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, then the cornstarch. Turn the speed back to medium and add the vanilla and vinegar.
Continue beating until the whites are glossy and hold a stiff peak when lifted out of the bowl.
This is when you would add the flavors to the meringue. Gently stir them into the mixture.
To make the cake: spoon the meringue onto the parchment in three mounds of 2 cups, 1 cup and 1/2 cup. Then, with the back of a spoon, spread the two larger mounds so they are flattened slightly. Leave the little one rounded for the top of your cake.
With the remaining meringue, you can spoon them into the cookies.
Turn the oven down to 200°F and slide the trays into the oven. Bake for 1 hour at 200°F and then turn the oven off and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for another hour.
To make the strawberry sauce: Cook the strawberries, vanilla bean and sugar with 1/4 water, until the strawberries are soft and the juices have thickened up slightly. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the berries and how much sugar. The sauce can be made days ahead and served warm or cold.
Whip the cream:
Whip the cream, vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks just before serving.
To assemble the cake: Place the largest meringue on a serving platter, cover with some of the whipped cream and some of the fresh berries, repeat with the next layer and top with the smallest meringue. To serve, cut the cake, which will pretty much fall apart and serve in a bowl with the strawberry sauce.
I’m doing this post way in advance so you all have plenty of time to make this…hint, hint, my boys!
Also try Meringue Mother’s Day Cake
Here is an interview I did with my fellow Minnesota Food Blogger Joel Carlson: