Berry meringues with crème anglaise
Light, delicious, and fat-free! What could be better? Meringue is a cloudlike mixture made by beating sugar into stiffly beaten egg whites. Soft meringues are shiny and tender and used to top puddings and pies or to lighten batters or decorate cakes. Hard meringues, like in this recipe, get baked low and slow in the oven to dry them out so that they hold their shape as cookies or meringue shells. Humidity can play a factor in the meringues’ crispness, so it’s best not to make them on a rainy or humid day. Berries and a sweet custard sauce turn light airy meringues into an elegant dessert.
4 item(s), large, large
Cream of tartar
1% low fat milk
3 item(s), medium
8 oz, about 1 cup
Powdered sugar (confectioner's)
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl until just frothy. Gradually sprinkle in 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until sugar completely dissolves and the whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks, about 8 minutes. Spoon the egg-white mixture onto the baking sheets, making 8 (6-inch) rounds. Spread the mixture with the back of a spoon or a small metal spatula, leaving about 1/2 inch between each meringue. Bake the meringues until they feel crisp to the touch, about 2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven until they are crisp and dry to the touch, about 1 hour longer. Cool the meringues on the baking sheets on racks 10 minutes. Carefully loosen and transfer the meringues with a metal spatula to the racks to cool completely. Meanwhile, to prepare the crème anglaise, bring the milk and vanilla bean to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Remove the vanilla bean, scraping the fragrant seeds from inside the bean into the milk. If using vanilla extract, stir into the hot milk mixture off the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened and a pale yellow. Whisk 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the hot milk mixture, whisking quickly and constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 6 minutes. (Do not boil or the mixture may curdle.) Transfer the custard to a bowl; let cool. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. To serve, combine the strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries in a bowl. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of the crème anglaise onto each serving plate. Top each plate with a meringue, then about 1/3 cup of the berries and a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.