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Praline Meringue Stacks With Dulce de Leche Cream
For the meringues
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup praline powder or
For the dulce de leche cream:
8 ounces whipped cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 cup dulce de leche
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
More dulce de leche for assembly
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Using a 2.5-inch round cookie cutter, trace circles on 2 sheets of parchment paper, spacing them so you have 12 circles on each sheet. Flip over the parchment onto two baking sheets. Outline will show through. Be sure not to pipe meringue on pen marks.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff and shiny. Carefully fold in confectioners’ sugar. Fold in the praline powder or nougat powder.
Spoon meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a plain 3/8-inch round tip. Pipe meringue inside the outline, filling the center completely. Repeat piping, making 24 circles in total.
Bake meringues for 1 hour or until golden but slightly soft to the touch.
For the cream, combine cream cheese with 2 tablespoons heavy cream with a spatula. Stir to blend. Fold in the dulce de leche. Beat heavy cream in a mixer bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the cream cheese mixture. Place cream in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
To assemble your stacks, spread a thin layer of dulce de leche on 16 of the meringues. Pipe a swirl of cream on top. Leave eight plain. Stack two creamed meringues together. Top with a plain meringue. Pipe a rosette of dulce de leche on top and garnish with a chocolate decoration.
To plate this dessert, spoon some dulce de leche on the center of the plate. Drag a plating wedge through the cream and place your tower in the center.
Lemon or Blueberry Meringue Tart
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons margarine, cut up
2 tablespoons shortening*
3–4 tablespoons ice water
*Note: If you prefer to use all margarine, combine quantities
8 ounces whip topping
16 ounces lemon cream (or more if you prefer)
8 ounces whip topping
1/2 can blueberry pie filling (or more if you prefer)
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in margarine or shortening until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Do not knead by hand as this will warm the fat and develop the gluten and cause the pastry to puff or shrink.
Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition. Only add enough water to hold dough together.
Shape dough into a ball. It will be somewhat crumbly, but will hold together. Flatten slightly and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight. If chilled for long, allow the dough to return to room temperature before rolling.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
On lightly floured surface, roll out dough and cut desired shape that fits your tart pan. Gently ease pastry into pan without stretching. Trim edge with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. To bake blind (baked empty and filled after baking), line pans with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake 15 minutes; remove pie weights and parchment. Bake a few minutes more until golden. Remove from oven and cool. Remove from pans and fill as desired.
Beat the whip topping until stiff. Fold in the desired filling and combine. Place filling in a pastry bag to fill the tart shell.
Whip egg whites until foamy. Add salt. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until firm peaks form. Fill a pastry bag with the beaten meringue. Pipe meringue to top your tart. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the meringue to desired color.