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Fresh Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice: Delicious and Nutritious

My five year old wondered aloud the other day how the world might be if everything that was sweet and delicious – like candy – was good for you, and the healthy stuff (those he’s not a fan of, that is), like broccoli, was bad for you. Wouldn’t that be crazy! We’d eat candy for lunch and supper! Fortunately, delicious and nutritious aren’t mutually exclusive. Case in point: fresh cherries and tart cherry juice.

Cherries, in fact, are often overlooked as a healthy snack; dark cherries contain dietary fibre, vitamin C and minerals like calcium and iron with only about 70 calories per generous handful. And their shape and color are reminiscent of hearts – perfect for Valentine’s Day if you’re trying to avoid artificially colored and flavored candies in favor of real food. These cherries in meringue clouds are sweet and fantastic – perfect for a romantic meal, dinner party or afternoon tea for the kids.

Cherries in Meringue Clouds

adapted from BC Tree Fruits

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
4 large egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp white vinegar
red food coloring (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
parchment paper

Stir together the sugars and cornstarch in a small bowl. Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer. Add cream of tartar and beat on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, until stiff, glossy peaks form. If you want light pink-colored clouds, blend in a couple drops of food coloring. Gently stir in the vinegar.

Preheat oven to 250°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment or foil. Spoon meringue into 6 mounds, each about 3 inches wide and at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 1 hour, until dry. Remove from oven and cool before peeling off the parchment or foil.

Whip the cream and sweeten to taste with sugar. Immediately before serving, fill each cloud with whipped cream and top with fresh pitted cherries. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Nutritional info per serving:
Calories: 228
Carbohydrates: 24.6 g (40%)
Protein: 3.8 g (7%)
Fat: 13.5 g (53%)
Fibre: 1.1 g
Sodium: 51 mg

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