Meringue Clouds with Strawberries in Zinfandel Sauce

We often love to include wine dinner pairing recipes, but we must not forget that desserts are courses that also love to be paired with wines! Here is a superb and bright dessert that takes advantage of the season’s fresh strawberries. Make a day ahead; dessert must sit overnight.

 

STRAWBERRIES AND ZINFANDEL SAUCE

1 c. white zinfandel wine

2 ½ c. water

1 c. sugar

2-3 pints of strawberries, quartered

 

MERINGUE

1 ½ c. sugar

1 Tb cornstarch

4 egg whites

½ t. cream of tartar

 

WHIPPED CREAM

2 c. heavy cream

1 ¼ t. vanilla extract

1 Tb sugar

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine water, wine, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes or until it reaches a thin syrup. Remove from heat and chill. Once chilled, add strawberries and refrigerate overnight.

 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. With a pencil draw six 3 ½-4” circles on a sheet of parchment paper. Crinkle the parchment paper into a ball and then smooth it out onto a baking sheet with pencil marks facing down. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. On low speed, add sugar and cornstarch mixture, 1 heaping tablespoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes until it reaches the consistency of marshmallow creme. Spoon or pipe with a large star tip the meringue mixture into the circles with higher outer rims so the middles may be filled. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven overnight. Don’t worry if they crack.

 

The following day, whip the heavy cream into soft peaks in a large bowl. Whip in the sugar and vanilla extract and place in the refrigerator or freezer. Refrigerate the meringues for 30 minutes to 2 hours to soften. Just before serving, drain strawberries, reserving the sauce, and assemble the meringues with a desired spoonful of whipped cream, topped with strawberries, and sauce spooned around the meringue.

 

If so desired, one large meringue can be made by placing the crinkled parchment paper in a 9” meringue pan, filling with meringue mixture, and baking at 200 degrees for 2 hours and resting overnight.

 

Serves 8 portions

 

WINE PAIRING

A late harvest Semillon or Sauternes is a great pairing. Their zesty acidity cuts a cloying sweetness, so more decadent chocolate desserts will overpower these exquisite and sought-after wines, but the fresh berries and cream make for a perfect marriage to this wine. Due to the labor intensive production, where grapes with Noble Rot are hand picked, and yields can be low, Sauternes can be on the pricy side, but they age exquisitely and will continue to develop, deepening in color, for decades. We absolutely love Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes. It’s remarkably aromatic and evokes honeyed fragrances, grilled nuts, acacia blossom, fig, dried fruit and candied citrus.

We also suggest a Premium Ruby Port, such as Fonseca BIN 27, with intense fruity nose of blackberry, cassis, cherry and plum interwoven with notes of spice, a smooth velvety texture, and crammed with a flavorful black fruit finish.

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

670 calories, 30 g. fat, 18 g saturated fat, 109 mg cholesterol, 72 mg sodium, 97 g carbohydrates, 91 g sugars, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein.

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