I've made this cherry dessert for years to serve at baby showers, birthday parties and other special occasions. People really enjoy the tender crust, cherry filling and melt-in-your-mouth meringue. Every time I serve it, someone asks for the recipe. -Kathryn Dawley, Gray, Maine
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) pitted tart cherries
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 6 to 8 drops red food coloring, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup finely chopped almonds
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg; mix well. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Drain cherries, reserving juice; set cherries aside. Add enough water to juice to measure 1 cup. In a saucepan, combine egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar, tapioca and cherry juice mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the cherries, lemon juice and food coloring if desired. Pour into crust.
- In a small bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in nuts. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 9 servings.
Originally published as Tart Cherry Meringue Dessert in Taste of Home April/May 2003, p29
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