In the interfaith home, Passover and Easter require an interfaith dessert.

Too time-strapped for chocolate polenta cake, I’ve turned to these:

meringue unbaked

Ethereal brown sugar meringues.

I make individual ones, then drape them with lemon curd, berries and cream. They’re crackly on the outside; gooey on the inside; fat- and gluten-free.

Appearances aside, these meringues take only about 15 minutes to whip up. The heavy-lifting is done by the oven, where they bake for 45 minutes, then languish for another hour. You can make them a couple of days ahead (just wrap well and freeze) or the morning of the day you plan to serve them.

Another double-duty dessert … perfect for this blessed spring!

Brown Sugar Meringues (Adapted from “Gourmet” magazine)


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

On a sheet of parchment paper, draw six to eight 4-inch diameter circles with a pencil. (I use little tart pans as a guide.) Place the parchment, pencil-side down, on a baking sheet.

Place the sugars and cornstarch in the bowl of a food processor, and process for about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure you have no lumps.

Combine the vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer and add a pinch of kosher salt. Whisk on high until soft peaks form.

With the mixer running on high, add the sugar/cornstarch mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. When you’ve added all the sugar, run the mixer another minute or so to be sure your egg whites are smooth and not gritty. Add the vanilla/vinegar and beat on high for another 3-5 minutes, until you have stiff, glossy whites;

meringue eggs

Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet, keeping within the circle outlines:

meringue unbaked

Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the oven off, and propping the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon, leave the meringues in the oven for an additional hour.

Remove from the oven and carefully peel off of the parchment. Serve as is, doused with whipped cream, or with your favorite lemon curd and berries.