Many traditional meringue recipes bake at a very low temperature to keep the meringue shells from browning. They also call for an overnight cooling period in the oven to help the meringues develop a crisp texture. This version takes a shortcut and calls for baking them at a higher temperature and eliminating the long cooling period in the oven. The result is a crisp, lightly browned meringue. If you don't want to use liqueur, use 2 additional tablespoons of cherry or another fruit juice.
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 (12-ounce) package frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed
2 tablespoons crème de cassis (black currant-flavored liqueur) or kirsch (cherry brandy)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 ounce white chocolate, shaved
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 300°.
To prepare meringues, cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 4 (3 1/2-inch) circles on paper. Turn paper over, and lay flat on pan.
Place egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Divide egg white mixture evenly among the 4 drawn circles. Shape meringues into nests with 1-inch sides using the back of a spoon.
Bake at 300° for 1 hour or until meringues are lightly browned and dry. Remove from oven, and let cool completely (about 30 minutes) on pan. Carefully remove meringues from paper.
While meringues cool, drain cherries, reserving all liquid. Combine reserved cherry juice, 2 tablespoons sugar, crème de cassis, and next 4 ingredients in a small saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in cherries. Cook over medium heat 7 minutes or until mixture is thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and let cool completely.
Place meringues on dessert plates. Spoon cherry mixture evenly into meringue shells; sprinkle with shaved white chocolate.