(Low fat & low calorie recipe)
This meringue shells are wonderful for serving fresh fruit, fruit salad, pudding, or your other specialty desserts. You can make the cups as small or large as you like, or you can make one large 10- to 12-inch shell. I personally like to serve individual shells to my guests. Learn how to make Perfect Meringue.
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Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with ungreased parchment paper or aluminum foil (dull side up). Draw eight 3 1/2-inch circles on the paper; set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Then, add one at a time, the cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Continue beating until the whites begin to hold their shape and become opaque. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar in a slow stream. Beat until the whites thicken and form stiff peaks (do not over beat).
Spread each circle with approximately 1/3 cup meringue; shape with back of spoon to make shells, building up sides to form shells.
Bake for 1 hour; turn off oven, leaving meringues in the over, with door closed, for an additional 1 1/2 hours. Remove baking sheets to wire racks. Let meringues stand 15 minutes; then carefully loosen them with a wide flat metal spatula or a sharp knife and transfer to wire racks. Let cool completely.
NOTE: Fully baked hard meringues may be stored for months in a tightly sealed container with waxed paper between any layers. If they should lose crispness, bake in a preheated 250 degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
To serve, fill with your favorite filling.
Makes 8 servings.