Nutty Meringue with Strawberries and Cream
Makes 1 (10-inch pie crust) or about 6 (3-inch) small nutty meringue rings for individual servings. This is as recipe I received from Sylvia Spaht many years ago. These meringues are crispy. After baking, I usually leave them in the oven with temperature off until the oven has cooled. I store the baked meringues, once cooled, in a bowl with a cloth napkin on the top.
3 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
12 saltine crackers, finely crushed
½ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, if desired
2 pints cleaned and sliced fresh strawberries OR more, if desired
Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, if desired for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your large baking sheet. To make a pattern as a guide for making circles, I use a large plate or small 3-inch plates and trace the circles with a pencil. Turn the paper over (you will still see the pencil markings). If using foil, draw pattern and foil should indent enough for you to see the shape to use as a guide. If using foil, spray with nonstick coating or lightly butter foil.
3. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add sugar by spoonfuls, beating well after each spoonful.
4. Add baking powder.
5. Gently fold in the crushed crackers, pecans and vanilla.
6. Spoon mixture onto prepared parchment paper or greased foil.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Pie crust will rise during baking but it will settle as it cools.
8. Once the meringues have finished baking, turn the oven off but leave in the meringues until the oven is cool. That makes them drier and crispier.
9. Whipped cream: In mixing bowl, add heavy whipping cream. Whip until frothy then slowly add powdered sugar. When stiff peaks form, remove bowl and gently fold in vanilla extract or Grand Marnier liqueur. Refrigerate.
10. To assemble dessert: Place Nutty Meringue on plate. Top meringue with sliced fresh strawberries and a dollop of the whipped cream. Add a swirl of chocolate syrup, if desired.