Need a last minute Easter dessert idea? No problem – I have one for you! These pretty little meringue nests are naturally gluten free, bite sized treats filled with chocolate whipped cream and a cherry on top.
The base of these treats is simply meringue that I scooped with an ice cream scoop and then made an indentation in the center with the back of a small spoon (I actually used a melon baller) – no complicated piping for me.
I bake my meringues in a very low heat oven for two hours until they are crispy and they can be made ahead, just store in an airtight container or food storage bag at room temperature. If you are like me and live in a humid environment, you can keep them in the oven (turned off) just don’t forget they are in there before you start preheating the oven for your ham or rack of lamb (yes, I speak from experience!)
I then whip up some heavy cream with a little cocoa powder and powdered sugar, fill the indentations and top it off with a maraschino cherry.
Did you know that you can now purchase maraschino cherries that are free of corn syrup, artificial flavorings and colors and preservative free? Yep! Several companies are now producing a much healthier maraschino; two of those companies are Cherry Man and Royal Harvest.
You may notice in my photo that the cherries are pink, not red. I used Pink Blush natural maraschinos from Royal Harvest, I love the bright pink for Easter plus Oregon Cherry Growers donates 5% from the sale of Pink Blush cherries to help find a cure for breast cancer.
These bite sized treats are perfect for portion control but I really cannot guarantee you won’t just eat a bunch of them!
Gluten Free Cherry Meringues Recipe
2 large egg whites
½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch cream of tartar
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
18 maraschino cherries with stems
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put a couple of inches of water into a pan that will hold the bowl of your mixer without letting the bottom of the mixing bowl touch the water. Bring the water to a simmer. Combine the egg whites, granulated sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water and whisk the mixture until all the sugar is melted, about 2 minutes. Test by rubbing some of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger, it should not feel gritty.
Place the bowl into the mixer and start mixing at low speed. Gradually increase the speed to high and mix until the mixture is very thick, glossy and white, 10 minutes.
Spoon heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared pan spacing about 1 inch apart. A #40 ice cream scoop work really well for this. With a very small spoon or your thumb, make an indentation in the top of each meringue, large enough to fill with cream. Bake for 2 hours or until the meringues feel crisp and they peel off the parchment easily. Let cool.
Pour the cream into a clean mixing bowl and sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat until stiff peaks form.
Pat the cherries dry with paper towels.
Spoon or pie the cream into the cooled meringue and top with a cherries.
A gluten free recipe that makes 18
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