Estelle Birenbaum via Leslie Mann Kaplan and Judy Shankman
Food Editor’s Note: My friend Judy reports that "Leslie Mann Kaplan is one of the best cooks I know. Every recipe she has ever given me is a winner. This has become a family favorite."
This dessert will become a favorite of yours as well. It is oh-so-easy to make and looks very elegant sitting on a round platter. It is sweet, yet light, and who can resist strawberries and cream? You can even make this dessert during Passover, as it has no flour or leavening agents. I baked the meringue one night, assembled it in the morning, and by dinner time it was gone - various family members and friends of my son just couldn’t help themselves and kept "tasting" it throughout the day.
Once you remove the meringue from the oven, just let it sit on the counter, uncovered, until it is ready to be filled and served (the same day). Be careful removing the meringue from the springform pan, as it is very fragile. Don’t worry though if pieces do break off - the imperfections just add to the character of the dessert. Store leftovers (if any!) in the refrigerator.
6 egg whites
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint of heavy cream
1 pint diced strawberries
[Food editor’s note: I use a quart for more strawberry flavor and color.]
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour (with matzah meal on Passover) a 9 or 10-inch springform pan.
Whip the egg whites until stiff, up to 15 minutes (or about 5 minutes in a Kitchen Aid mixer). Gradually add the sugar and whip a few more minutes. Add the vinegar and vanilla and whip until it looks like marshmallow.
Spoon the egg white mixture into the pan and make the sides a little higher than the middle. Bake for 50 minutes, shut off oven, and leave the pan in the oven overnight.
When ready to serve, whip the cream until soft peaks form and fold in the diced strawberries. Gently break off the top crust of the meringue and set the pieces aside. Remove the rest of the meringue from the pan by running a knife several times around the sides and then releasing the pan. (You can gently move the meringue to a platter by running a knife underneath it and transferring it with a spatula, or just place the meringue still attached to the bottom of the springform pan directly on the platter.)
Spoon the cream and strawberries on top of the meringue base and then place the reserved crust pieces back on top. Use a serrated-edged knife to carefully cut the meringue into serving pieces.