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Prickly Pear Merengado

prickly pear merengado Dessert South American
Prickly Pear Merengado
  • Prep 15 min
  • Total 12 hr 0 min
  • Ingredients 8
  • Servings 3

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! MORE + LESS -

Ingredients

2
egg whites
1
cup powdered sugar
1/2
teaspoon vanilla
2
red prickly pears, peeled and chopped
Juice from one half lemon
1 1/2
cups of heavy whipping cream, well chilled
3
tablespoons sugar
Fresh mint leaves, for garnishing

Directions

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  • 1
    To prepare the merengue disks, first preheat the oven to 250°F. Over a sheet of parchment paper, draw various circles with a 3 inch diameter. Try using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass as a guide to trace around with a pen. Place the prepared sheet of paper over a baking sheet and set aside.
  • 2
    Next, place the egg whites in a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the whites until firm then add the powdered sugar by spoonfuls. Incorporate one spoon at a time, until half the sugar has been used. When the mixture appears uniform, add a bit more sugar. Last, pour-in the vanilla.
  • 3
    Turn off the mixer and add any remaining powdered sugar with a spatula. Gently combine by ‘folding’ the mixture together in order to not crush the egg whites.
  • 4
    Transfer the merengue to a pastry bag with a decorative tip (to create swirls.) Using the merengue, trace within the circles you've drawn before, starting at the center and finishing at the edges.
  • 5
    Bake in the oven for 1 hour, 20 minutes. When ready, turn off the heat and let cool within the oven for several hours. Later, place on a rack and cool completely. These disks can be prepared the night before so you’re ready to assemble the dessert quickly the next day.
  • 6
    To prepare the fruit filling, peel the prickly pears with a sharp knife and cut into slices or squares. Then transfer the chopped fruit to a bowl and pour the lemon juice on top. Set aside.
  • 7
    Next pour the chilled cream into a mixing bowl and begin beating with an electric mixer. Then add the (granulated) sugar and continue to mix until soft peaks form. When ready, store the cream in the refrigerator.
  • 8
    To assemble the merengado, alternate layers of meringue disks, whipped cream and sliced prickly pear over a serving dish. Continue layering, until you've reached two or three layers of meringue.
  • 9
    Serve well chilled, garnished with a few pieces of prickly pear and some mint leaves.

Expert Tips

  • You can buy ready-made meringue 'disks' sold in bakeries. They are crispy and look very white.
  • In place of prickly pear, you can use any fruit available in the kitchen: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango, soursop, cherimoya or dragon fruit as you like.
  • If you''re in a hurry you can use store-bought whipped cream, but try whipping your own cream at home whenever possible-it's quick, easy and deliciosa.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe
More About This Recipe
  • 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!

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