Fruit Soup with Caramel Meringues
- SERVINGS: 8
- 2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 quart water
- 4 large ripe Comice pearspeeled, cored, and halved
- 3 tablespoons pear eau-de-vie
- 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 2 kiwis, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pint blueberries
- 1/2 pint raspberries
- In a small saucepan, dissolve 1/2 cup of the sugar in 1/4 cup of the water over low heat. Raise the heat to moderate and boil until the syrup is caramelized to a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of water until incorporated and divide the caramel syrup evenly among eight 1/2-cup ramekins or custard cups.
- In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites on low speed until frothy. Continue beating on high speed until the whites form soft peaks. Beat in the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the whites form stiff peaks. Swirl the caramel in the ramekins to line the bottoms, then spoon in the meringue. Smooth the tops and arrange the ramekins in a large roasting pan.
- Put the roasting pan in the oven. Add 1/2 inch of hot water to the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the meringues are set and the tops are browned. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool on a rack. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon juice and water. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and simmer until tender when pierced, about 20 minutes. Let the pears cool in the liquid.
- In a food processor, puree the pears with the eau-de-vie, adding about 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid to make a souplike consistency; reserve the remaining poaching liquid. Refrigerate the pear puree until chilled, about 2 hours.
- Unmold the meringues onto individual rimmed plates. Pour the puree around the meringues. Add the pineapple, kiwi and berries to the reserved poaching liquid to moisten them, then transfer to a strainer to drain. Arrange the fruit around the meringues and serve.
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