Coconut Meringues With Fresh Fruit Cups
Makes about 18 (2-inch) meringues and fruit cups for 5 or 6. Recipe is provided by F.G. LeBlanc with adaptations by Corinne Cook. Make meringues 4 hours ahead or the night before you want to serve them.
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp. coconut extract
½ cup sugar
1½ tsps. cornstarch
½ tsp. white vinegar
Fresh fruit cups:
4 cups any fresh, peeled fruit or combination of fruit and berries
1 tbl. sugar (or desired amount of sugar substitute if preferred)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbls. fresh chopped mint
3 tbls. light rum or Grand Marnier, optional for adults
1. To make meringues: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make 18 to 20 round (2-inch) beds of coconut on the parchment paper. You will pipe the meringue on top of the coconut. Set aside.
2. In medium or large bowl of mixer, beat egg whites and coconut extract together at high speed just until foamy.
3. Gradually add the sugar, a little at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form but mixture is still glossy, about 1½ to 2 minutes. Remove from mixer.
4. Lightly sift cornstarch over the egg whites. Sprinkle the vinegar over the top and using a spoon or spatula, gently fold cornstarch and vinegar into the meringue.
5. Spoon meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe small mounds over the beds of coconut on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Place in preheated 300-degree oven and then reduce the heat to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven but allow meringues to cool in the oven for at least 4 hours (or overnight). These are best if really dried out.
7. Serve separately as a cookie or on top of fruit in pretty dish or glass. Store meringues in airtight container for up to 1 week.
Fresh fruit cups:
1. Prepare fruit cups right before serving: In large bowl, combine fresh fruit of your choice. Sprinkle with sugar, lime juice, mint and liquor, if desired.
2. Place in pretty dish or stemmed glass and serve with coconut meringue on the plate or on top of fruit.