Cacao & Berry Meringue Nests
I love holidays for the food traditions that surround each one. I grew up Jewish, so have many special recipes from my mom and grandmother. Growing up, I was always disappointed to not celebrate other religious holidays because that meant no special foods and dinners! Who knows how I ended up in nutrition and wellness...just the other night, Ryan commented on my “fascinating love of food”. Thanks Ryan...lol!
In college, I spent every summer working at an incredible bakery in Cape Cod. I’ve always been a great baker, but it was working there with the owner, Becky, that I really got to learn how to bake and decorate at the professional-level. Working there only fueled my love of food and cooking.
So as this so many will be celebrating Passover and Easter, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite dessert (which also happens to be pretty light). This recipe is perfect for these two holidays because it is special, delicious, reminiscent of Spring, and is free of leavening agents so is Passover-friendly.
I use Cacao twice in this recipe for a dose of antioxidants, iron, magnesium, calcium, and some natural mood-boosting benefits. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of anti-oxidants, low in sugar, high in fiber, and are perfect for a special occasion dessert.
This recipe is very low in sugar for a dessert. Sugar is used in the meringue, but that’s it. In many of my recipes I use different substitutes for sugar, but in a meringue, classic white sugar is the only way to go.
This dessert comes out the best when the meringues are made the night before, and they are assembled right before serving. I hope you enjoy this delicious, special, and light dessert as much as my family and I do!
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tarter
1.5 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup organic unsweetened cacao powder
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or coconut cream
1/4 cup organic unsweetened cacao nibs
Mixed fresh raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries
In a large, very clean glass bowl, combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tarter. With a hand or stand mixer, beat until foamy.
Begin adding sugar 1 T at a time, beating for at least 30 seconds. Continue the process until all of the sugar has been added. Beat for an additional 3-5 minutes. The meringue mixture should be stiff and shiny, with no graininess.
Sift cacao into the egg white mixture, and gently fold in until fully combined.
Fill a large piping bag with the meringue, and pipe onto a wax-papered baking sheet. Pipe a circle approximately 3 inches in diameter, and then pipe two rows around the outside to form your “nest”.
Place the meringues into a 225-degree oven for approximately 2 hours. When finished, the meringues should be hard and crunchy on the outsides, but not have any browning.
Turn the oven off, and let the meringues dry out in the oven overnight.
When ready to serve, combine heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract in a bowl, and whip until stiff peaks have formed.
Fill each shell with 1-2 T of whipped cream, and top with berries and cacao nibs.
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