Nothing caps a festive Fourth of July celebration better than a holiday worthy dessert (read: red, white and blue!) that deliciously delivers, regardless of where your fireworks viewing may perch you.
So often, desserts for a holiday like this must be planned around a host of logistics that prevent much imagination with regard to what can be served. There may be a wide range of ages to please; a large gathering where buffet service is necessary; or, timing and/or portability issues that are best addressed by a dessert that keeps well and can be assembled when desired. Having something that can be plated with ease and keeps well until served is a real bonus. Having one that also has some festive flair… is a bonanza!
That’s why this Cherry Berry Meringue is such a great July 4th offering. Not only is it delicious and visually delightful… patriotically pleasing in crisp red, white and blue… it’s super easy to package up and transport to nearly anywhere your celebration takes you. Everything can be prepped in advance, stored individually, and assembled when desired.
Meringues are not difficult to make, consisting of only a handful of ingredients, but they are persnickety in that certain things need to align in order for them to come out right. Things like humidity or the wrong bowl can present some issues. The right approach, however, is easy to achieve and can quickly transform simple egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt into something quite exquisite… a delicate, crisp, billowy puff of a sweet that will elicit a sharp crackle when broken into and yet dissolve almost magically on your tongue, belying each bite… if not for the subtle, sweet flavor that lingers in evidence of its existence. They are, however, only part of what makes this dessert exquisite. The meringue itself is light, crisp and delightful… yet, it’s the sum of its parts that makes this sweet treat so pleasing.
Drippy fruits, starring Stemilt’s sweet red cherries, set over a dollop of freshly whipped cream are an absolute must when it comes to these meringues.
Though fresh strawberries are often called upon to top meringues, I realize now that I’m more in love with the drippy nature of a mascerated strawberry when it comes to this dessert… than the strawberry itself! That’s when I thought to incorporate sweet cherries. Stemilt’s cherries are not only beautiful to behold, clearly worthy of the starring role in this dessert, they also offer that classic subtle sweetness that a French meringue calls for… while still retaining a much-welcomed tart quality… providing a perfect balance to the meringue itself.
Here Stemilt’s luscious fresh cherries are wrapped in a tumble of mascerated strawberries, coating them with a fresh, sweet syrup that plays beautifully with the delicate sweetness of the cherries. With a little nod to our patriotic red, white and blue, this lovely dessert — a firm, billowy, sweet little cloud topped with heavenly folds of white cream tangled with fresh cherries, mascerated strawberries, and ripe blueberries — is the perfect, colorful capper to any Independence Day feast… no matter the perch.