This sophisticated dessert is definitely for those special occasions in your life. I made these individual meringues with marscapone cream topped with peaches, raspberries and cherries for Christmas Day, but it could easily be made for Valentine’s Day or a special dinner party. The sweetness of the crunchy meringue is perfectly balanced with the creaminess of the marscapone cream, and the seasonal fruit in the port syrup, just adds another level of decadence.
I also like how each component of this dessert could be made a couple of days before and stored to be quickly assembled just before serving. Definitely a stress buster when you are catering for a lot of people. The recipe below makes 10 servings. The recipe has been adapted from Sweet Si Bon.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp corn flour
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 200 g marscapone cheese
- 150 ml/ 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
- 2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
Seasonal fruit in port syrup
- 1 punnet fresh raspberries
- 3 or 4 peaches, skinned and sliced
- 12 cherries, halved with pips removed
- 1 cup good quality port or other fruit based fortified wine (i.e. Marsala)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
To make the individual meringue shells, preheat an oven to 180 c/350 f. Whisk the egg whites until they have started to thicken and foam up. Then gradually add in the caster sugar, making sure that the sugar is fully whisked through before adding more. Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until it is white and glossy. I also like to rub a bit of the mix between two fingers to make sure that the sugar granules have been incorporated completely.
Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and use a small bowl or large glass to mark out circles to use as a piping guide. My circles were 10 cm in diameter. Place the mix into a piping bag with a piping tip of your choice. I used a star tip. Pipe the egg whites around the circle and fill in the middle. I also piped some up around the sides to create little bowls. Before placing them in the oven reduce the oven temperature to 150 c/300 f and then bake for 30-40 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave them to dry out in the oven with the door slightly open. This should take another 30 minutes. They should be lightly browned and hard. Store them in an air tight container. If the weather is humid or wet your meringues may soften. Simply place them back in the oven on a low temperature (120 c) for around 10 minutes and they will go hard again.
To make the meringue cream, whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks are formed. Mix through the sifted icing sugar and then stir through the softened marscapone cheese until it is blended well. Store in a container in the fridge.
To make the fruit compote in port syrup, peel and slice the peaches and halve and remove the pips of the cherries. In a small saucepan, add the fruit and cover with the port, water and brown sugar. Bring it to the boil, then simmer until the fruit has softened.
Drain the fruit through a sieve with a bowl underneath, as you need to keep the liquid to make the syrup. Store the fruit in a container in the fridge. Place the liquid back in the saucepan and simmer until the liquid amount has halved or when it coats the back of a spoon. Store in a container in the fridge.
Place a meringue shell on a plate, scoop in a couple of spoonfuls of the marscapone cream; cover with a couple of spoonfuls of the fruit and drizzle over the port syrup. Serve straight away.