Old-Fashioned Meringues with Berries

Meringues with berries have a special place in my heart. I can clearly see my mother in our kitchen the night before my 11th birthday party, spooning heaps of thick white meringue onto baking sheets lined with cut-open and trimmed brown-paper bags—so they won’t stick, she told me. And, when the meringues were done, she cracked the oven door, “so they will dry out completely,” she said. For my party, in May, the meringues were topped with strawberries—it was too early for boysenberries.
By / Photography By Craig Lee | June 01, 2013


To Prepare Meringues 
Preheat oven to 275° F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the egg whites until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff, shiny peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, almond extract and salt and beat for 1 minute.

Using a spoon, transfer the meringue batter to the lined baking sheet, forming 3-inch rounds about 2 inches high and, with the spoon, making several peaks on each round. You should have 10 meringues. If you like, use the back of the spoon to make a slight depression in each meringue, to act as a cup to hold the berries.

Bake the meringues until very faint color appears on the peaks, about 1 hour. The outside will be crisp and the inside soft. When they are done, turn off the oven, crack the oven door open, and let the meringues dry out in the oven as it cools, at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours to ensure they are fully dry.

To Prepare Sweetened Whipped Cream (optional)
Pour the cream into a large bowl. Using the electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and almond or vanilla extract and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

To Serve
Place each meringue on a dessert plate. Top the meringues with the berries and then with a scoop of the whipped cream, if using.

Adapted from the Davis Farmers Market Cookbook by Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans

Related Stories & Recipes


  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 pints blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or a mixture
Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
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