Hey! It’s a HOLIDAY weekend here in the US. No doubt many of you are getting ready to spark up the grill, roast some marshmallows, and light up the sky with some fireworks.
It’s about to be Independence Day and us American’s like to celebrate in style…by lighting things on fire!
I, however, will not be lighting anything on fire…this year. I will be viewing fireworks from a safe distance, drinking some gin-spiked rosemary lemonade, nomming on some fried chicken, and hopefully taking a LONG nap.
I’m a girl of simple needs.
Food, drink, nap.
My 4th of July menu was directly inspired by Tracy because she is TOTES awesome and I didn’t even know I needed either of those things in my life right now until I saw her posts. She knows what is up!
My only addition will be dessert.
It’s called Eton Mess…which is technically British, but since America was born of some rebellious British colonists we’re going to be okay with that. It makes great use of one of my favorite summertime treats–fresh berries. You are literally 4 ingredients…5 if you macerate the berries in some booze…away from this goodness.
If you use both a red berry (raspberries! strawberries!) and blueberries it will be totally patriotic.
If you buy the meringue cookies, you won’t even turn on the oven, AND it will only take as long as it takes you to make whipped cream. No Joke.
If you macerate those berries in the aforementioned booze, you will be one popular gal (or guy)!
If you make this dessert on the 4th of July you will have plenty of time for eating/drinking/napping/lighting stuff on fire. Promise.
If you want the distinct red and blue colors, don’t macerate your berries together or it ain’t gonna happen. If you don’t care, then I don’t either…definitely do whatever you want. Below are the ingredients necessary to serve 2. If you need more than 2 servings just make more whipped cream, macerate more berries, and crush more meringues. This is more a to-taste method than anything.
10-ish meringue cookies
1 cup chilled, heavy whipping cream
1-2 cups berries, any variety you like
sugar to taste
grand marnier or other booze (optional)
Place berries of your choice (I used blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries…triple berry threat) in a medium bowl and sprinkle sugar to taste, booze (if using). Stir it up to coat, cover and set aside.
In a large bowl or electric mixer, beat heavy cream to stiff peaks–don’t over do it, err on the side of a medium peak if you fear this. Crush meringues over cream and fold.
Now, you can either fold in the macerated berries at this point OR if you are like me, layer them in the glass with the whipped cream/meringue mixture to create lovely, patriotic layers. Either way, serve immediately. With a spoon. The meringues instantly begin to dissolve and the whipped cream will start to deflate if you let it hang out too long.
adapted from Use Real Butter
4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon plain vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat egg whites on medium until foamy. Add vinegar (lemon juice or cream of tartar) and salt, raise speed, beat until whites hold soft peaks. Gradually add sugar while mixer is running, add vanilla, and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff, glossy, peaks.
Scoop the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (round or star are nice) and pipe kisses onto prepared sheets. You can pipe them close together as they will not expand. Bake until meringues are dry to touch and can easily be lifted from the parchment. Try not to let them take on any color. This will depend on the humidity in your area. I made mine on a SUPER humid day and it took a full 2 hours for my meringues to dry. In drier climates it will only take about an hour. Cool meringues completely before crushing into the whipped cream.