Sweet Heart

Heart shaped foods might be reserved for Valentine’s Day (which I hope was lovely, by the way!), but this quick dessert will taste good any day of the year.

Good news: meringue does not kill poodles. Our silly puppy manged to pull a meringue down from the kitchen counter when I wasn’t looking. These hearts are a little fragile, so make sure you keep your curious puppy away…you don’t want any broken hearts!

The meringue thief. Guilty puppy.

I just took a simple meringue recipe and made the individual hearts by spooning the meringue within a heart shaped cookie cutter on the baking sheet.  Topped with vanilla whipped cream, lots of berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce this was a light and scrumptious way to end the meal.

For an easy chocolate drizzle, just melt chocolate chips! The higher quality, the tastier it will be.

For the meringue:

1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg whites at room temperature
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon white vinegar
pinch of salt

Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks.  Add water and continue to beat until the egg whites hold soft peaks again (the whites will loosen a bit when you add the water). Put the speed up to medium-high and add the sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time.  Once all the sugar mixture is added, beat on high for one minute more.  Add the vinegar and beat until the meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks (about 5 minutes).
To make the individual hearts, spoon the meringue into a heart cookie cutter on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Use a spatula to smooth the edges.  It will make 6-8 hearts.
Or, this is enough meringue to make a free form circle (for a pavlova base, if you’d like) — spread the meringue into a circle with a diameter of approx. 7 inches on the baking sheet.
Bake at 225 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, or until meringue(s) can be taken off the parchment paper easily (up to three hours).
Top with whatever your heart desires (whipped cream, custard, fruit, chocolate, etc) and enjoy!

Quick tip: unless you want your meringue to look like the one below, make sure you use fresh (not frozen) fruit!! It tastes delicious either way, but the fresh fruit will not bleed its colour all over the place.

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