Berry Meringue Slices
It’s been over a dozen years since I first had this perfect summer dessert while researching my KAFFEEHAUS book in Vienna.. Hans Diglas’s cafe-restaurant is one of the most enjoyable spots for traditional food (including pastries), and it has the advantage of being around the corner from St. Stephen’s cathedral. It was there that I first saw a big tray of layered cake in an old-fashioned metal baking pan, topped with red currants and meringue. Hans shared the recipe for the book, and I adapted it for more readily available blueberries. Even with its Austrian heritage, it may well be the perfect Fourth of July dessert.
- softened butter and flour for the pan
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 14 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- finely grated zest of ½ lemon
- 6 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 pints fresh blueberries
- 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- 1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 13- X 9-inch baking pan, tapping out the excess flour.
- 2. To make the cake: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine; set aside. Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. On low speed, in two additions, beat in the flour mixture. Beat in the lemon juice and zest.
- 3. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until golden and the top springs back when pressed in the center, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire cake rack while making the meringue. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
- 4. To make the topping: Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until the form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar until the whites are stiff and shiny. Toss the blueberries and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl. Spread the berries in a single layer over the cake, then spread with the meringue.
- 5. Bake until the meringue is lightly tipped with brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire cake rack. To serve, cut into 12 rectangles with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and serve from the pan.
Raspberry Slices Substitute 4 cups fresh raspberries for the blueberries. Increase the confectioner’s sugar to 4 tablespoons. Or use 2 cups each raspberries and blueberries with 4 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar.
Red Currant Slices Substitute 4 cups stemmed fresh red currants for the blueberries (to stem currants, strip them from their tiny stems with the tines of a fork) . Increase the confectioner’s sugar to 1/2 cup.
Make-Ahead: The cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead, covered loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.
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