Just in time to beat the after-Christmas and post-New Year’s blahs, here is a sweet treat for any occasion. These petite meringues are filled with a small piping of Swiss buttercream whipped with seedless raspberry jam and topped with a sumptuous fresh berry. Make the meringues ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in a dry area for up to two weeks. Of course, the buttercream can be prepared ahead of time, too, and frozen or stored in the refrigerator until needed. Top with berries just before serving.
Here’s how I make my favorite meringue shells. For every large room-temperature egg white, use 1/4 cup of sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. Whip as many egg whites (I usually do about 4) as you desire in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until frothy. Gradually rain in the sugar (for 4 whites I’d use 1 cup of sugar). Do this slowly to give the whites a chance to absorb and dissolve the sugar. When you’ve incorporated all of the sugar, whip on high speed until the meringue is luxuriously thick and billowy, at least another 5 to 7 minutes.
Using whatever plain or star tip you like best, pipe small shells, about 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. I usually start in the center, pipe a disc, and then pipe along the edges to create about a 3/4-inch rim. Bake at about 200 degrees until the meringues are dry and firm but still white, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If you’re preparing more than one pan, rotate the pans about halfway through baking.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely on the baking sheets before storing the meringues in an airtight container.