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Easy Summer Dessert-Meringue and Summer Berries Parfait

Makes approx. 5 parfaits (depending on the size of your glass)

Meringue Cookies
3 large egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¾ cup super fine sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

To make meringue:
Preheat oven to 200 F and place the rack in the centre of your oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and continue beating until the whites hold a soft peak.

Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds a very stiff peak.  Beat in the vanilla.

Drop small spoonfuls of meringue onto your prepared sheet pan (or you can pipe it on if you wish).  Bake the meringues for approximately 1-½ to 1-¾ hours, rotating the sheet halfway though the baking time.

The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack and leave in the oven to finish drying for 2 to 3 hours.

Note: Meringue can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for several days.

Chef Margaret tip: to stop the parchment from sliding and from flying up in the oven, place a little of the meringue mixture on the corners of your bake sheet and press the parchment down on it.  This will act as glue.

Lemon Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp lemon zest

In a mixing bowl, place the whipping cream, vanilla, sugar and lemon zest and stir to combine.  Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

1 pound total of strawberries and raspberries
2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Slice your strawberries (bite-size pieces).  Place them in a bowl with your raspberries.  Sprinkle sugar over top and add vanilla.  Fold carefully to combine and set aside.  Best to do about an hour prior to use as you get more juice.  Leave at room temperature.

Note:  You can use any seasonal berries you wish but strawberries and raspberries release the most juice.

To Assemble:
Break up your meringue cookies into bite-size pieces.  Place a spoonful of your whipped cream on the bottom of your glass.

Top with some of the meringue pieces.  Place some of your berries on top of meringue (make sure you get some of the berry juice).  Continue to layer until done. Finish with fresh berries and sprinkle with icing sugar if you wish.

Lace Cookies
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup shredded coconut (or any other nut of your choosing)

Preheat oven to 350 F and place rack in the centre of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cook brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a sauce pan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in flour and coconut.

Spoon small tablespoons of batter about 6 inches apart on baking sheets and bake in the oven until brown and bubbling, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool.



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