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 large egg, lightly beaten
- TOPPING AND FILLING:
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup finely chopped almonds
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) pitted tart cherries
- 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 6 to 8 drops red food coloring, optional
- Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, mix flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Add egg, stirring with a fork. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of a greased 11x7-in. baking dish. Bake 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 350°.
- In a small bowl, beat egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold in almonds.
- Drain cherries, reserving juice. Add enough water to juice to measure 1 cup; pour into a saucepan. Stir in tapioca, egg yolks and remaining sugar; let stand 5 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cherries, lemon juice and, if desired, food coloring.
- Pour into crust. Immediately spread meringue over top, sealing edges to crust. Bake 22-25 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.
- Cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Tart Cherry Meringue Dessert in Taste of Home April/May 2003, p29
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