Thursday, April 16, 2015

an elegant dessert

Want a fancy dessert that can be made in advance, isn't a cake, but will serve a large crowd? Sounds like a tall order but it's as easy as making these delicious meringues. Twelve individual meringues are laid on a puddle of raspberry sauce and then topped with fluffy whip cream, some fresh raspberries and the prettiest sprinkling of chocolate shavings.

I served these on Easter and made all the components the night before (I love desserts that can be made in advance!). When it was time for dessert, I laid out all the plates and started assembling (see the pictures below). This is a great opportunity for your guests to help you; assign someone to be in charge of each element of the dessert and then it will be interactive and less stressful for you. Although truthfully, once everything is made, assembling is the easiest part.

I loved all the texture and flavor combinations with this dessert: the sweet tartness of the raspberry sauce, the crunchy meringue, the hint of chocolate and the soft whip cream to meld it all together. I'll definitely be making this one again!

Meringues with raspberry sauce and chocolate shavings
Recipe barely adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
Makes 12 meringues

Recipe Notes-
- Ina swears by extra-large eggs but I never have them because I only buy large. I did a little investigating and was able to use 7 large egg whites vs. the 6 extra-large egg whites that she calls for. I also added a bit more vanilla extract. And the chocolate shavings were added as a blissful garnish.
- In the raspberry sauce, I used frozen (not thawed) raspberries and also reduced the sugar from ½ cup to 1/3 cup since the raspberry jam is already so sweet. You can use seedless raspberry jam if you want, but I didn’t.
- If it’s a humid day, don’t make the meringues, as they will be sticky and not crisp.
- Every element of this dessert can (and should) be made in advance, but don’t assemble the dessert until just before serving. If you want to make the whip cream a day in advance here is this method to stabilize it. 

For the meringues:
7 Large egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 ½ Cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Raspberry Sauce:
1 half-pint fresh raspberries (or 1 cup frozen berries)
1/3 Cup sugar
¼ Cup water
1 Cup (12 oz.) raspberry jam

For the whipped cream:
2 Cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the chocolate shavings:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate bar, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1 Cup fresh raspberries

For the meringues:
1. Preheat the oven to 200° F and line two baking sheets with parchment. Trace 6 3 ½ -inch circles on each piece of parchment, and then turn the paper down on the baking sheets.
2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium speed, until frothy. Add 1 cup of sugar and dial the speed up to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Add the vanilla until incorporated. Carefully fold the remaining ½ cup of sugar into the meringue.
3. In a pastry bag with a large star-shaped tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
4. 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 at least 4 hours, or overnight.
5. When the meringues are cool, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

For the Raspberry Sauce:
1. Place the raspberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. In a food processor, pour the cooked raspberries, add the jam and process until smooth. Chill and serve cold.

For the whip cream:
1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, place the cream and slowly whip the cream until it starts to form soft peaks. Then add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don’t overbeat. Keep refrigerated until using.

Assembling and serving the meringues:
1. Equally divide the raspberry sauce on each plate, letting it puddle. Place a meringue on top of the sauce, gently pressing down to let the sauce surround the meringue. Top the meringue with the whip cream, chocolate shavings and some fresh raspberries. Enjoy!


  1. This was absolutely delicious. The addition of the meringues, (I've only had three plain ones in my life), made the contrast of textures and flavors amazing. Simple, yet a totally unexpected taste treat.

    1. I agree Mark, I loved all the textures too. Glad you liked it!

  2. That is beautiful, Cream, meringue and raspberries- yum!