Prep: 15 min Bake: 2 to 21/2 hr
Cool: 3 hr Total Cost: $6.22

Choose a dry day to make the meringue since it tends to absorb moisture from the air,
which makes it soggy. It can be baked up to three days ahead and stored loosely covered
at room temperature, or wrapped airtight and frozen up to two months. 

 Whites from 4 large eggs (about 1/2 cup), at room temperature
 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar or lemon juice
 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
 3/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

 1 1/2 cups regular, reduced-fat or nonfat sour cream
 1 pint (12 ounces) small strawberries, rinsed and hulled if desired (2 cups)
 1/2 pint (6 ounces) red raspberries (1 cup)
 1/2 pint (6 ounces) blueberries (1 cup)
 Garnish: more berries

1. Heat oven to 250 F. Cover baking sheet with waxed paper. Draw an 8-inch circle on a
plain sheet of paper (see Cooking Lesson, below).
2. Meringue: Beat egg whites in a large bowl with electric mixer until frothy, add vinegar
or lemon juice, continue beating until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted.
3. Stir cornstarch into sugar. Very gradually add sugar mixture to egg whites, beating
until stiff and glossy peaks form when beaters are lifted. Beat in vanilla until blended.
4. Spread meringue with back of spoon in outlined circle to cover, building sides to form
a rim about 2 inches high and 2 inches wide.
5. Bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours until meringue is firm and dry to the touch, but not browned.
Turn off oven. Prop door open with handle of a wooden spoon and let meringue cool
completely, at least 3 hours or overnight. 
6. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Transfer meringue to serving plate. Fill center with
sour cream. Gently mix strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and spoon over sour
cream. Garnish with additional berries.

* Serves 8. Per serving: 211 cal, 4 g pro, 30 g car, 9 g fat, 19 mg chol, 52 mg sod. Exchanges:
2 fruit, 1/2 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat

COOKING LESSON: Meringue Pattern

A. Draw outline of an 8-inch salad plate or cake pan on plain paper. Slip paper between
waxed paper and cookie sheet to use as a guide for spreading the meringue. Put dots of
meringue under each of the corners of waxed paper to keep it from slipping. Remove
paper with outline before baking. Save pattern for the next time you make Pavlova.

B. During this stage, whites become foamy and begin to hold together in one complete
mass. The vinegar acts as a stabilizer and helps keep the beaten whites smooth. 

C. At the soft-peak stage, ripples start to form on the surface and, as beaters are lifted,
peaks droop slightly. Begin adding sugar slowly, about 2 tablespoons at a time. When
making meringue, it's important for sugar to completely dissolve, or meringue will be
gritty. Superfine sugar dissolves faster than regular granulated.

D. After sugar is added, whites will be whipped to full volume and be stiff and shiny.
This is the firm-peak stage.

E. This sturdy meringue can be spread or piped into any shape. For Pavlova, use the back
of a spoon to spread it evenly in the circle and to build up sides.

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