Stacked layers of light and fluffy meringue sandwiches create a striking centerpiece. With star-shape peaks and pretty pink icing, the tree adds instant elegance to any table. Top the tree with a shiny ornament for a sophisticated touch.
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 recipe pink icing
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and extract with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl).
- Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Spoon meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
- Pipe 1-inch-diameter mounds 1 inch apart onto lightly greased baking sheets. (You should have a total of about 130 meringue stars.)
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until stars are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned.
- Transfer to racks; let cool.
- Spread bottoms of half the meringue stars with about 1 teaspoon Pink Icing, below.
- Gently press the bottoms of the other half of the meringue stars into icing to form sandwiches.
- Dot the icing into an 8-inch circle on a flat serving plate.
- Arrange a circle of 15 meringue sandwiches on their sides with one set of points of each sandwich facing the edge of the plate.
- Within this circle, make another circle of 10 sandwiches.
- On this foundation, stack ever-smaller circles of sandwiches on their sides to form a cone shape. Use small amounts (about 1/2 teaspoon) of icing to attach each sandwich to the previous layer, forming 6 layers of meringue sandwiches (25 in first layer, 15 in the second, then 13, 7, 4, and 1 in subsequent layers).
- Makes 65 meringue sandwiches.
In a small bowl, stir together 3 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons softened butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Add 1 or 2 drops red food coloring to tint a light pink color. Stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped candied red cherries. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk until icing is smooth and of spreading consistency.