There was a brief and lovely Two Carolines reunion over the weekend (with most of the rest of the family) and of course—there had to be a dessert party. I wanted something that would feed the whole crew and that could be prepared ahead of time. I dug back into the family archives and found this dessert that came from family on my mom’s side. It’s almost like a Pavlova, but with some extra ingredients that add to the texture and flavor. It is one of those desserts that all the kids and adults were devouring and wanting seconds and thirds. It takes some time to make it, but each step is pretty easy and it’s totally worth it.
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups small marshmallows
- 1 pint cream, whipped
- 1 (16 oz.) bag of frozen berries, thawed
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the salt and sugar; whip 10-15 minutes in stand mixer.
- Spread in an 11×15 inch greased pan. Bake one hour at 250-275 degrees. Turn off oven and leave in overnight.
- Mix the cream cheese, sugar and the vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add the marshmallows and mix until incorporated. Gently fold in whipped cream until mixture is uniform. Spread evenly on meringue layer. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Chill 8-10 hours.
- To serve, cut into squares and top with spoonful of thawed mixed berries.
I’ve been looking up ideas lately that are quick and that maybe take a break from our chocolate obsession. This one fit the bill perfectly and seemed like ideal treat to bring to a family BBQ. I love bananas, I love pudding and I love meringue (although it tends to be my nemesis). I added more Nilla wafers and bananas than the original recipe, and everyone was quite pleased with the results.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, separated and divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 11-ounce box Nilla wafers (you won’t use the entire box, unless you pour the rest in your mouth—which—no judemgent here.)
- Preheat oven to 350. Make custard: whisk 3/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, milk and egg yolks in a pot set over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until it just begins to bubble, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn heat down slightly, and allow mixture to simmer, still stirring constantly, for 1 minute, then remove mixture from heat. Whisk in vanilla, salt and butter.
- Make meringue: put the egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/2 cup of sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, and set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch, about 3 minutes (This will melt the sugar). Transfer to the stand mixer fitted with whisk, and beat until stiff, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Line a 13-by-9-inch oven-safe casserole pan with two layers of Nilla wafers (I did one side face up and the other side face down to fill in the gaps) and layer all of the banana slices.
- Pour the custard over the bananas and cookies, then use a spatula to spread the meringue. Bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the peaks are the color of a toasted marshmallow. Allow to rest until ready to serve. (The author talks about how the meringue can weep a bit, I couldn’t find a way around that, but maybe those who are more masterful with meringue have some tips for that…)