This impressive, easy, make-ahead dessert feeds 16 people, generously. In the unlikely event that any of this is left over, it freezes well. The cloud itself is gluten free, and takes on different personalities depending on the choice of topping.
I have been making this dessert since the early 1970s and am not sure where I got the original recipe. However, Betty Crocker published a recipe for Berries on a Cloud in the mid-seventies and included the Cherry-Berry sauce I often make. I suggest you let your imagination lead you to new taste explosions. My Pineapple Sauce, which I have included, is often a favourite at our house. My husband enjoys his cloud drizzled in maple syrup.
The beauty of this recipe is in the wait-times required between making the layers. Use this to your advantage. If you want to serve the cloud on Saturday evening, you will make the meringue base on Thursday evening, bake it for one hour, turn the oven off, and leave it in the oven until noon the next day.
At noon on Friday, make the topping, layer it over the base, cover the pan with foil, and refrigerate the cloud until you want to serve it. It will be ready for Saturday evening, but will be lovely on Sunday, too. This is a make-far-ahead dessert!
I bought myself a spring form 9 x 13-inch cake pan, and I really love it for this recipe, because the cloud looks truly beautiful from the side. It is easier to lift the slices for serving when there are no sides on the pan. Of course, I have made, and served, this recipe many times, without the luxury of such a pan. Other pans work well, as long as they are buttered, thoroughly.
Heat oven to 275°F
Butter a baking pan, 9 x 13 x 2 inches
Prepare the Base:
6 egg whites
½ teaspoon of cream of tarter
¼ teaspoon of salt
1¾ cups of sugar
In a large mixer bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until foamy. Beat in the 1¾ cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do NOT under beat. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for one hour. Turn off the oven, and leave the meringue in the oven with the door closed, for 12 hours or longer.
2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 package of cream cheese (8 ounces)
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of mini-marshmallows
In a chilled bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff. In a separate bowl, blend cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla, until smooth. Gently fold the whipped cream and marshmallows into the cream cheese mixture; spread over the meringue base. Chill 12 to 24 hours. Cut into serving size pieces and top with Cherry-Berry Topping, Maureen’s Pineapple Sauce, or the topping of your choice.
Suggested Sauces to Top Your Dessert Cloud
1 can of E.D. Smith Cherry Pie filling
2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries or 1 package (16 ounces) of frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Mix and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve over the fluffy cloud or other cheesecake.
Maureen’s Pineapple Sauce
Serve over dessert cloud, ice cream, white cake, or fill tiny pre-baked tart shells
½ cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 (14 ounce) can crushed pineapple, including juice
3 tablespoons of butter
Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in a medium-size saucepan; stir in pineapple.
Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils for three minutes. Stir in butter just until melted.
Serve warm or cold over your desired treat.
This sauce is gluten free.
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