It is likely that you have made meringue at some time or other. Typically ones' first exposure to meringue is in a Lemon Meringue Pie. Although meringue does make a great topping for pies, it is also wonderful in many other types of desserts from cakes to meringue mushrooms used to decorate Buche de Noel or Yule Logs.
Meringue is very simply, egg whites beaten with sugar. Finished textures can differ greatly and are created by the ratio of eggs to sugar and the temperature and length of baking time. Crisper meringues are baked at a low temperature, 200 degrees F. for longer periods of time, up to 2 hours, to dry out the meringue. Meringue baked at 275 degrees F for half the amount of time will result in a dry meringue on the outside and a wetter or marshmallow texture on the inside.
A few years ago, we prepared a recipe that we called, 'Meringue Clouds w/Fresh Nectarines'. So named because that is exactly what it reminded us of, delicate clouds of meringue topped with fresh sweetened fruit and a dollop of sweetened creme fraiche. The dessert is delightful, easy to make and versatile.
These are great desserts to serve for guests as the meringue bases should be made ahead. Just before you're ready to serve, simply top with fruit, a mousse or curd and a dollop of whipped cream and you've got a fabulous dessert perfect for spring or summer entertaining.