This special-occasion dessert is impressive and elegant. Strawberries are my family's favorite fruit, and they go great with chocolate. -Mary Lou Smarsh, Laurel, Montana
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted
- 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups whole fresh strawberries
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 teaspoons shortening
- Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace a 9-in. circle on paper.
- Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold in almonds.
- Spoon meringue evenly over circle, forming a 1-1/4-in. rim. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes. Turn oven off; leave meringue in oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and cool on baking sheets. When cooled completely, remove meringues from paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the cocoa, milk and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into the meringue shell. Top with strawberries.
- In a microwave, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over berries. Yield: 8-10 servings.
Originally published as Strawberry Chocolate Meringue in Reminisce January/February 2003, p49
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