In Lima we enjoy a fresca and delicioso dessert that is an absolute favorite: cherimoya merengado. This consists of layering 'discs' of merengue, white and crunchy, with whipped cream, slices of fresh cherimoya and drizzled with melted chocolate on top. Sometimes it's even served straight from the freezer (as it can be frozen), which creates a great combination between texture and temperature-especially during the summer. Other times, it's actually prepared in the moment and is just as exquisito.
Based on this idea, I've been experimenting for some time with all kinds of fruits; the more exotic the better. On this occasion I wanted to make a merengado using prickly pears-a very popular fruit among Peruvians that we love to eat year-round in juice, slushies, ice cream, etc. Here, this fruit is available in a variety of colors from green to orange and red. Although they have a very delicate and dulce taste, they're even better with a few drops of lemon juice.
If you make the merengue 'disks' at home, which is very easy, try to avoid very humid days for cooking. Instead of being crispy, the disks will turn out a bit chewy. In this case, it's better to buy them pre-made in a bakery. Then you'll have this dessert ready in less than half an hour. I've listed such a long prep time to include this merengue preparation, only since cooling takes quite a while.
I will let you be the judge of this recipe combining new sabores and textures; you have to let me know how it works for you! Sometimes I choose to make this postre as a large, family-style cake, but I also like to serve it in individual portions using small merengue disks, or even layering the ingredients in dessert cups. Anyway you choose, this merengado will turn out buenísimo!