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.

For more red, white and blue recipe inspiration, see Lorie’s layered cake and cherry bites blog posts.

Cherry Berry Meringues

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup ultra fine granulated sugar (“baker’s sugar”)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pound fresh Stemilt cherries, stemmed, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 pound fresh blueberries
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed and halved
  • 2 tsp ultra fine granulated sugar (“baker’s sugar”)
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar

Cherries, blueberries and meringue make the perfect red, white and blue 4th of July treat.

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  • Yield
    6 servings
  • Prep time
  • Cook time
  • Total time
  • In Category
    Cherries, Dessert, Holiday, Summer.
  • Level
    Moderate

Cherries, blueberries and meringue make the perfect red, white and blue 4th of July treat.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional: you can pencil circles on reverse side of parchment to serve as guides for the size of your meringues).

Whip egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in metal bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, at medium speed until whites appear frothy. Increase speed to medium high and continue whipping until whites just begin to hold together.

Reduce speed to medium and begin adding ultra fine sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until all is added. Add vanilla and continue to whip on high speed to incorporate, until glossy, stiff peaks are achieved. Remove bowl from mixer and sift powdered sugar over top. Gently fold powdered sugar into whipped cream being careful not to deflate.

Drop spoonfuls of meringue onto parchment lined baking sheet. Using the back of  a spoon dipped in water and shaken off, carefully flatten meringue from center outward to create a slightly raised outer rim. (Rinse spoon and shake off excess water between each meringue prep.) Bake for 90 minutes in center rack of oven. Then turn oven off and let meringues continue to sit in oven for approximately 2 to 3 hours (to harden up).

Meanwhile, place prepped cherries and blueberries in a large bowl. Set aside.

Transfer prepped strawberries to electric blender. Add ultra fine sugar and let sit for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Then add orange juice and pureé until syrupy. Add mixture to cherries and blueberries; fold gently to combine. Set aside.

Meanwhile, whip heavy cream in metal bowl* of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, at high speed. As cream begins to thicken, lower speed and add vanilla and powdered sugar, until incorporated. Return to high speed and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

To serve, place one crisp meringue on plate. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Spoon Cherry Berry mixture over top of dessert and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, place meringues in an airtight container to store. Transfer berry mixture and whipped cream to glass containers, cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. All components will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days, stored properly.

*glass or metal bowls are preferred; copper or plastic can impair the flavor and consistency.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • Calories: 210.3
  • Fat Content: 15.0g
  • Protein Content: 2.6g
  • Carbohydrate Content: 17.8g
  • Fiber Content: 2.1g
  • Sugar Content: 14.2g
  • Cholesterol Content: 54.8mg
  • Sodium Content: 37.0mg