A Berry’s Best Friend

By Lynda Balslev
Lynda Balslev
Lynda Balslev
Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her Danish husband, two children, a cat, and a dog. Lynda studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and worked as a personal chef, culinary instructor, and food writer in Switzerland and Denmark. Copyright 2021 Lynda Balslev. Distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication.
August 2, 2021 Updated: August 2, 2021

Every berry lover should have a recipe for meringues up their sleeve. Snow white, light as air, and egg-shell crisp, meringues will dress up your favorite berries in these easy do-ahead desserts.

Crumble and shower meringues as a sweet and dusty garnish, hollow their centers to fill as a sugary edible vessel, or simply fold them into dollops of billowy whipped cream.

Meringues can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks (or longer if store-bought) and are the perfect secret ingredient to pull out for fresh desserts and easy summer entertaining.

Epoch Times Photo
Layer crisp, crumbled meringues with billowy cream and syrup-soaked strawberries—or your favorite berries—for an easy summer dessert. (Lynda Balslev for Tastefood)

Strawberry Meringue Parfaits With Balsamic Syrup

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time and standing time

Serves 6 to 8

For the Balsamic Syrup and Strawberries

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries

For the Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Serve

  • 4 ounces crisp meringues, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows), crumbled
  • Finely grated lemon zest for garnish

Make the balsamic syrup: Combine the vinegar, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half and syrupy in consistency, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small heat-proof bowl to cool to room temperature. (Syrup may be prepared up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use.)

Wash, dry, and hull the strawberries. Slice 1/4-inch thick. Reserve 6 to 8 slices for garnish and place the remaining berries in a medium bowl. Pour the balsamic syrup over the berries and gently stir to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours).

Make the cream: Combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at high speed until soft peaks form. (Cream may be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use.)

To serve: Divide half of the strawberries between serving glasses. Spoon the cream over strawberries to cover. Sprinkle with meringues. Repeat the layering process. Garnish with reserved sliced strawberries and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Crisp Meringues

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, plus cooking time

Makes about 40 (2-inch) meringues

  • 4 large organic egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until foamy. With the mixer running, add the sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing about 5 seconds after each addition to fully incorporate the sugar. Mix in the vanilla.

Pipe the meringue through a pastry bag in decorative rounds or drop large spoonfuls on the parchment and flatten slightly.

Bake in the oven until the meringues are firm, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven. Do not remove the meringues or open the oven door. Let the meringues dry and cool completely in the oven.

Store in an airtight container with parchment or wax paper between the layers for up to 2 weeks. Meringues can be re-crisped in a 200-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipes adapted from the Incredible Egg

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her Danish husband, two children, a cat, and a dog. Lynda studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and worked as a personal chef, culinary instructor, and food writer in Switzerland and Denmark. Copyright 2021 Lynda Balslev. Distributed by Andrew McMeel Syndication.

Lynda Balslev
Lynda Balslev
Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her Danish husband, two children, a cat, and a dog. Lynda studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and worked as a personal chef, culinary instructor, and food writer in Switzerland and Denmark. Copyright 2021 Lynda Balslev. Distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication.