I have made a variation on this recipe MANY MANY times with complete success, with a couple of subtle differences. I have always lined my baking sheet with a large sheet of heavy brown paper (a NECESSITY for baking meringue), drawn my design on it, and mounded the egg white mixture accordingly. Also, I use 1 tsp cream of tartar once the egg whites reach frothy stage (NO cornstarch or vinegar). For the cream top, I also use 1 cup whipping cream, whip it to stand up in peaks, and add 8-oz. brick of softened cream cheese and 1/2 tsp almond extract. Once it's mounded on top of the baked meringue crust, I open a can of "lite" canned cherry pie filling and pour over the top. Absolutely my favorite dessert of all time. Another consideration: this meringue crust may be more successful for you in lower humidity, if you are ever so blessed :)
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I have made a variation on this recipe MANY MANY times with complete success, with a couple of...