Killer-but-Easy Dessert Needed!
-Francine Segan, FrancineSegan.com
Dear Francine: What’s a killer dessert that looks impressive but is actually easy?
Francine: My favorite “wow ‘em” dessert is a Coconut Raspberry Dacquoise. It’s got a fancy French name, but don’t let that throw you. It’s nothing more than whipped egg whites, coconut and sugar. If you’ve got a hand mixer and an oven, you can make it.
You can bake up the egg-white-sugar meringues weeks in advance, so there’s no last minute fuss. The filling is just vanilla pudding, whipped cream and any fruit you like.
On the day of the party, just make a box of vanilla pudding and squirt on some ready-prepared whipped cream, toss around some berries, and Voila!
The meringue layers absorb the moisture in the pudding and whipped cream, so they become cake-soft and really easy to slice.
Coconut Raspberry Dacquoise
A pretty mix of holiday colors from the red raspberries, green mint, and white layers!
8 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flaked coconut
2 packages vanilla pudding mix
Ready made, or homemade, whipped cream
2 1/2 pint fresh raspberries, plus more as garnish
Mint leaves, as garnish
To prepare the meringue, line two or three large cookie sheets with parchment. Using a pencil outline four 8-inch circles onto the parchment.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
In a large bowl whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar using an electric mixer whip until stiff peaks form. Beat in 1/2 cup of the sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla until stiff. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the coconut. The egg whites should be shinny and stiff.
Spread 1/4 of the mixture on each of the four outlined circles.
Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack. Turn off the heat, and let rest in the oven for another hour. Allow them to cool completely before removing from the parchment paper. Store in an airtight container until ready to assemble.
On the day of the party, make the pudding according to package directions.
To assemble place one of the coconut meringue layers on a serving plate. Spread one-half of the pudding over the meringue. Top with 1 pint of the raspberries and then the second meringue layer. Spread the meringue layer evenly with whipped cream and top with a third meringue circle. Spread that layer evenly with remaining pudding and top with another pint of raspberries and the third meringue circle. Spread with the whipped cream and top with the last meringue circle.
Before serving, top with a dollop more of whipped cream, raspberries, and mint leaves.
Cut with a serrated knife.