Gourmet Galley: Coconut meringues

I was at Fresh Pickin’s Produce Market when I saw F.G. LeBlanc, customer service and human resource manager, tacking a recipe onto the bulletin board.

Knowing LeBlanc is an excellent cook, I inquired as to what he was putting up and he laughingly said, “You know I love looking at cookbooks and food magazines and these strawberries and coconut meringues sounded good to me, especially with all the Louisiana strawberries we’re getting now.”

He made me a copy of the recipe, but we could not tell which magazine or pamphlet he had clipped it from. That was a month ago and now that I’m trying the recipe, most of the Louisiana strawberries are gone. However, I’m spotlighting the deliciously simple coconut meringues that can accompany any bowl of any fresh fruit or combination of fruit.

These are crispy meringues and not macaroons. Coconut extract is added to the egg whites, then the beaten egg-white mixture is piped onto a small bed or coconut. As the meringues bake, the coconut on the bottom gets toasty. These are delicate and you will have extra toasted coconut on the baking sheet, so just sprinkle the loose coconut over the fruit cup. Serve the meringues separately as a cookie or on top of the fruit.

The meringues bake in a slow oven and should be left in the oven to cool and dry for at least four hours or overnight.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at food@theadvocate.com.