Happy almost Valentine’s Day everyone! I’m Danae from Recipe Runner and I’m so excited to be back on Ashley’s wonderful blog! Today I’m sharing with you a sweet, beautiful, and of course delicious dessert to make this Saturday, Berries and Cream Meringue Nests!
Meringues are one of my favorite cookies. I love their crisp texture that turns marshmallowy as it dissolves in your mouth. I also love that they are a “healthy” cookie as far as cookies are concerned, so I can eat about 10 of them and not feel like a pig. I’ve made meringue cookies plenty of times and I love playing with the flavors of them, but I had never tried making a nest out of them. So what is a meringue nest you ask? Well it’s simply an oversized meringue cookie that you pipe out with a pastry bag into the shape of a bird’s nest. The whole idea of making the nest is so that it can hold a delicious filling like this lovely vanilla cream topped with juicy berries!
The cream filling for these meringue nests is a combination of whipping cream, plain non fat Greek yogurt, vanilla bean paste, and a little sugar. I could have just made whipped cream for the filling, but I loved the idea of adding the Greek yogurt for thickness and a little tart flavor. With all the sweetness from the vanilla meringue nests and the berries, the tartness of the yogurt was the perfect way to balance everything out.
On top of that luscious cream I of course had to pile on some berries and a dusting of dark chocolate shavings because it’s just not Valentine’s Day without some berries and chocolate, am I right?! I used raspberries and blackberries to top mine, but feel free to use whatever berries you prefer. I added a teaspoon of sugar to the berries to sweeten them up and bring out some of their wonderful juices.
This is a dessert that should be assembled just before serving. If you make it in advance the meringue nests will turn soft and leave you with a gooey marshmallow rather than that crisp, crunchy, cloud of vanilla sugar. The Berries and Cream Meringue Nests are an elegant and impressive looking dessert to finish off your Valentine’s Day dinner. After all who doesn’t love to finish off a special day with something sweet!
Berries and Cream Meringue Nests
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups fresh berries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Dark chocolate shaving for topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed until frothy.
- Add in the vanilla then continue to whisk on high speed.
- Slowly add in the sugar with the mixer running until very stiff peaks form.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently scoop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
- Pipe a disk of meringue into a 4 inch circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
- Bake the meringues on the middle rack of the oven for about 2 hours or until they are dry and crisp, but not browned.
- Turn the oven off and let them cool completely in the oven, 2 hours to overnight.
- Store in a dry airtight container until you are ready to serve.
- Beat all of the cream filling ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed.
- Beat until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
- Toss the berries with the teaspoon of sugar in a bowl and let them macerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Divide the cream filling between 4 meringue nests filling them with a spoon or piping the cream in with a pastry bag fitted with a large tip.
- Top the cream with the berries and finish with dark chocolate shavings if desired.
- Serve immediately.
More Valentine’s Day Desserts:
Berry Crisps for Two
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