Saturday, January 12, 2013

CHOCOLATE MERINGUES WITH FRESH FRUIT

For a light and tasty desssert, try these meringue shells filled with your favorite fruits and/or berries!

2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
dash of salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
2 cups assorted fresh fruit for topping
1/4 cup white baking chips
1 tsp shortening

In a medium mixing bowl place the egg whites, cover, and let stand at room temp for half an hour.

Cover a baking sheet with plain brown paper and draw 6 3-inch circles on the paper.  You want circles to be even so draw around a 3-inch jar lid or other round object; set aside.

Add the vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt to the egg whites.  Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat mixture until soft peaks form (the tips will curl under for soft peaks).  Add the sugar, one tablespoonful at a time, beating continuously on high speed approximately 7-8 minutes until stiff peaks form (tips will stand up straight for stiff peaks).  Gently fold in the cocoa powder.

Spread about a tablespoonful of the meringue onto each of the six circles you drew on the brown paper.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a half-inch star tip to pipe remaining meringue around edges of circles, building edges up as you go to form shells.  If you don't have a pastry bag, you can evenly divide the meringue among the six circles then use the back of a spoon to press down in the center forming shells.

Bake meringues in a 300 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Turn off the oven and let the meringues dry in the oven with the door shut for 1 hour (important not to open the door!). 

Remove meringues from the oven and peel off the brown paper.  Store in an airtight container.  Note that meringues are fragile and it is best not to stack them.

One hour before serving time, spread a rounded tablespoon of yogurt in the center of each meringue shell.  Chill.  Before serving, arrange a third cup of the assorted fruit in the shell over the yogurt.  Melt the shortening and white chocolate chops together in the microwave for a few seconds until melted; stir well.  Drizzle over the fruit-filled meringue shells.

Yield: 6 servings

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