Merengue de damasco
(Apricot Meringue)

To make this "the lazy way" you'll need to buy six large meringues from your favorite Cuban bakery in Miami; otherwise, if you can find two large - 8" round - meringue disks or bake your own according to Julia Child's recipe, for instance...you'll be on your way. The alternative is to fly down to Rio and eat this at Fellini in Leblon. They make it with home-made apricot preserves (they cook their own apricots with sugar) and fresh "creme Chantilly" or "nata batida." I've been doing some experiments here and found a German cream cheese called Quark, made by a company in Vermont (they also make crème fraîche), that tastes very much like the "nata batida" I used to make for my mother as a child. Or use Cool Whip...

6 large (6" long) meringues

1 lb of organic apricot preserves

1 large container of Cool Whip (not the one you squirt on, though)

I use a trifle dish for this. It's very simple: one layer of meringue, one layer of apricot preserves and one layer of Cool Whip (or whatever). Repeat once. Refrigerate until very, very cold. Spoon onto a small bowl for each person. It's really delicious!

If this recipe sounds remotely familiar to some of you, it's because it's very similar to an Australian Pavlova (even though Aussies may disagree, of course).

Maria's Cookbook

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