This is an elegant and delicious dessert that can be made two or three days in advance if you can store them in an air tight container and there is no humidity. Do not freeze! Fill them with berries, sorbet or a combination of both right before serving.
Vacherins P Yield: 8
Vacherin is what the French call a meringue basket. It’s amazing what egg whites, sugar and a piping bag can create.
Prep time: Whipping meringues: about 15 min. Forming vacherins: 20-30 min.
Baking: 90 min.
Whites of 6 large eggs
1 ½ cups super fine sugar
Small pinch of salt
2 cookie sheets
Pastry bag and tips
- Separate eggs. Put egg whites in bowl of mixer and bring to room temperature. Use yolks for another recipe or discard.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take a four inch glass and trace as many circles as you can on the parchment paper. You can place them close to each other because meringue does not spread while baking.
- Add small pinch of salt to whites. Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, start beating the whites on medium to high speed. As the whites begin to take shape, but are still quite droopy, add 1 cup of sugar while beating constantly. Beat for one or two minutes. As the mixture starts to become stiff and shiny, add remaining ½ cup sugar and continue to beat until meringue can form stiff peaks that retain their shape.
- Preheat oven to: 180 F.
- *To form vacherins: 1. Fit the pastry bag with a small plain tip and then fill the bag with meringue. You will need one base and three circles for each vacherin. Pipe the bases by starting at one point of the circle and piping round and round until you have a closed circle of meringue. Tap down any points which might be sticking up.
Pipe circles by just going around the traced circle once and leaving the center empty. Bake vacherin pieces 90 minutes. Remove from oven.
- To assemble vacherins: Take a dab of meringue and place it on four points on each base. Place one circle on top of the meringue. Place a dab of meringue on four points on top of meringue circle. Add another dried circle. Repeat process two more times. Return vacherin to oven and bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and store in a cool dry place until needed. Before serving-fill each vacherin with berries. Garnish with mint if desired.
*Alternate method to form Vacherins: Form the base as described above. Pipe a meringue circle directly on top of the base. Pipe two more circles on top of that. Bake 90 minutes or until meringue shells are firm. This method is easier but I prefer the look of step 5. Done that way, you can see small spaces between the rings and it looks like more of a basket. Either way, this is an elegant and delicious dessert.