Cherry Meringue Bites

Light as air, individual shells of crisp meringue cradle fresh red cherries; between them lie hidden pillows of tart creme fraiche.

  • Yield: Makes 50

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 1998

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 50 cherries (about 1 pound), pitted
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit 2 baking sheets. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, draw 25 circles on each piece of parchment. Turn the paper over, and place on sheets. Set aside.

  2. Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer, and whip. Start on low speed, and gradually increase the speed to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 10 to 12 minutes.

  4. Fit a pastry bag with a Wilton Number 16 star tip, and fill bag with the meringue. Cover one of the circles with an even layer of meringue. Pipe around the circumference, making a 1-inch-high cup. Repeat piping over the remaining circles. Transfer baking sheets to oven, and bake 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 175 degrees. and bake until the meringue has dried but is still white, 35 to 40 minutes more. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool.

  5. Fit a pastry bag with a plain round tip, and fill the bag with creme fraiche. Pipe 1 1/2 teaspoons creme fraiche into each of the meringue cups, and top with a cherry. Dust meringue bites with confectioners' sugar, and serve.

Cook's Notes

The meringue shells (steps 1 through 4) can be made several days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. When you're ready to assemble the individual desserts, proceed to step 5.

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