This Strawberry Meringue dessert is lovely, slow-roasted strawberries, topped with a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside meringue!
Looking for just a lovely, light and delicious little Summer dessert? One that highlights Summer fruit? A dessert that can be made ahead? And one that is naturally fat-free, too? Well this Strawberry Meringue fits that bill perfectly!
This Strawberry Meringue is simply sugar tossed fresh strawberries on the bottom and with lovely meringue dollops on the top. It all goes into a low oven and where the meringue crisps up on the outside, with soft marshmallow-like inside, while the fruit on the bottom softens and cooks along with it.
When you pull it out of the oven, you will find lovely crispy meringue and underneath, the berries that have slow roasted and released all their fabulous juices.
Enjoy this lovely dessert with whatever fruits happen to be in season, for a dessert that will take you right through the Summer!
To serve, simply spoon it out with a slotted spoon and enjoy as is, spoon it over ice cream or serve it in a bowl and top with some lightly sweetened whipped cream. The combination of fruit with the meringue is simply perfect.
Ingredient Notes for Strawberry Meringue Dessert
Egg Whites: You'll want to separate the egg whites while they are cold, as they separate more easily cold. Then let them stand for about an hour, to come to room temperature. Room temperature egg whites will whip up to the highest volume.
Superfine White Sugar: I didn't have superfine white sugar on hand, so I just ran regular white granulated sugar through the food processor for a minute or so, then measured. Store bought superfine white sugar (aka caster sugar) will save you that step. The finer grains of sugar dissolve more quickly and will produce a lovely meringue. If you can't process regular sugar, just go ahead and use the regular white sugar as is.
Strawberries: You'll need about 2 lb. of strawberries. If it's local strawberry season, those would be wonderful to use here. Even grocery store strawberries will work here though, as they are baked, which brings out the best in less the fresh from the field strawberries.
And yes, this lovely dish will work with any berries/fruit combination!
White sugar for berries: Adjust the amount of sugar here depending on the sweetness of your berries. Sweet, fresh local berries would need the lesser amount of sugar. Grocery store strawberries may benefit from the bit extra.
How to Whip Egg Whites
Step 1: Start with a clean bowl and beaters! Dip clean paper towel into some white vinegar and wipe down the inside of your mixing bowl and your whisk beater. Allow to dry completely.
Step 2: Separate your eggs cold, but bring to room temperature! It's easier to separate eggs when they are cold, but room temperature egg whites whip up to the best volume. Allow them to stand 45-60 minutes before whipping. Important! Even the smallest amount of yolk in your egg whites will ruin your meringue. To avoid waste (and having to start over if a yolk breaks), use 3 bowls and separate the eggs into one bowl, then tip into another bowl if it's clean, with the yolk going into the 3rd bowl. Repeat breaking each egg into the empty bowl, then moving it over if it's clean of yolk. Repeat with each egg.
Step 3: Add a pinch of salt! A pinch of salt will help to stabilize the egg whites, for best results.
Step 4: Start slow! Begin whipping your egg whites on medium-low speed (Speed 4 on a KitchenAid mixer). Whip until the egg whites are very bubbly (like a bubble bath).
Step 5: Kick it up a notch! Increase your mixer speed to medium (Speed 6 on a KitchenAid mixer) and whip until egg whites become creamy white and are starting to hold their shape. Egg whites have reached "Soft Peak" stage when you can dip your whisk in and when you remove, you have a dollop of egg whites that holds its shape, but that has a peak that tips over softly.
Step 6: Add the sugar! Add the sugar to the egg whites very slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Count to 10 after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the process. Continue until all the sugar has been added.
Step 7: Kick it up another notch! Once all the sugar has been added, increase your mixer speed to high (Speed 8 on a KitchenAid mixer) and continue whipping about 3 minutes more, or until the mixture is glossy and stiff. Check that the egg whites are a "Stiff Peak" stage by dipping a whisk into the mixture and when you remove, you have a dollop of egg whites that are shiny and have a peak the stands (and stays) straight up, without dropping at all.
Step 8: Go ahead. Try the test! If your egg whites are at stiff peak stage, you should be able to hold the bowl of egg whites over your head and the egg whites should stay firmly in the bowl.
Cook's Notes for Strawberry Meringue Dessert
As noted above, you can swap up the berries here or use a mixture of berries. Raspberries, blackberries and/or blueberries would all work nicely. I haven't tried this one with cherries or peaches, but I'm sure they would be nice, as well.
Be sure to check your meringue often after about 45 minutes of baking. Give your meringue a little tap with your fingernail and see how crispy it is. Keep baking until it is crispy and hollow sounding when tapped, without any colour or browning at all.
Just a reminder that you don't need (or want) to refrigerate this dessert. Leave it at room temperature, where it will keep well for up to 24 hours (thought it is best on the day it is baked). Make ahead in the morning or early afternoon to enjoy for an after-dinner dessert. Loosely cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, if you like, but don't make it airtight. This one needs to breathe.
- 4 large egg whites (at room temperature)
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup superfine white sugar (aka caster sugar *see notes)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (or vanilla bean paste)
- 2 lb strawberries (hulled and halved)
- 1/4-1/3 cup granulated white sugar (to taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla (or vanilla bean paste)
- Separate your eggs. Reserve the yolk in the fridge for another use. Set the whites aside to stand for about 45-60 minutes, or until they come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 250F. with rack in the centre of the oven.
- Prepare strawberries and place in an 8x8, 9 x 9 or similar sized pan (I've used a 8x9-inch pan here). Sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup white sugar and drizzle the vanilla over-top. Toss to combine and coat. Set aside.
- Using a little white vinegar on a piece of paper towel, wipe the inside of your mixing bowl and your whisk with vinegar. Let dry.
- Process your regular white sugar in a food processor, if necessary, then measure out and set aside.
- Add egg whites to your clean bowl. Whisk on medium-low (speed 4 on a Kitchen Aid mixer) speed until egg whites are quite foamy (like a bubble bath!). Increase speed to medium (speed 6) and whisk until soft peaks form. Being adding the white sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating in after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice while adding. Continue adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, until it has all been added. Increase speed on the mixer to High (speed 8) and whisk the mixture until it is glossy and stiff, about 3 minutes more. Add the vanilla and whisk in to combine.
- Using two large spoons, use one spoon to spoon out a dollop of meringue, then use the other spoon to scoop it off and drop it on top of the strawberries. Repeat until the top of the strawberries is covered with meringue dollops.
- Place in preheated 250F. oven and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 200F. and bake another 30-40 minutes, checking often, until meringues are crispy on the outside and hollow sounding when tapped, but are not browning at all.
- Remove from oven. Let side at room temperature until completely cool. The berries will have released a lot of their juices and the liquid will not be thick. Not to worry! You'll use a slotted spoon later to serve it to leave a lot of the liquid behind.
- To store, just leave on the counter. Do not refrigerate, or the meringue will weep. If you like, you can loosely lay a piece of plastic wrap over-top once it is completely cool. You don't want to wrap it tightly. Let the air get at it a bit, to keep it crisp. The meringue will stay lovely and crisp for up to 24 hours, though it's best to keep in the 8-12 hour range, for best results.
- To serve, use a slotted spoon to spoon the berries and a meringue dollop over some vanilla ice cream or serve in a bowl and top with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.