Happy Easter to my readers who celebrate this day. We began the celebration last night at my home with the family and a wonderful dinner. I'll post photos of the lamb cake my sister-in-law made which turned out beautifully. But I saw this photo in my Hallmark 1978 Holiday Cookbook. This basket is charming, but a ton of work. Little ones would be fun for folks, but making this would take a lot of your day.
Meringue Berry Basket
6 egg whites (3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Fresh whole strawberries
Cover 2 baking sheets with unglazed brown paper. On one, draw an 8-inch circle and 2 matching curves, each about 8 inches across at the open ends and about 4 inches high. (After baking, the curves will be joined to form the basket handle.) On the second sheet of paper, draw two 8-inch circles.
Warm egg whites slightly by placing the bowl in warm water. Add cream of tartar and beat until stiff but not dry. Sift sugars together to combine; gradually add to the egg whites, beating until stiff.
Spoon the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe the meringue onto the single outlined circle, making a solid base; build up the edge to about 1 inch in height. Pipe the meringue onto the 2 curves that will form the basket handle. On the second tray, pipe the meringue onto the outlines of the circles, forming 2 rings. Each ring should be at least 1/2 inch high. Reserve a little of the meringue in the bag.
Bake in a 190F oven (or even lower, if possible) until the meringue shapes are dry and can be lifted from the paper easily - about 1 1/2 hours for the rings and curves, 2 1/2 hours for the base. Turn off oven and let base dry in oven 15 minutes longer. Remove and cool.
Place meringue base on a serving plate and "cement" one of the rings to it with some of the remaining meringue; "cement" second ring to the first. Seal the handle halves, flat sides together, with dabs of meringue; set aside until basket is filled.
Fill basket with strawberries and set the handle in place, securing it with the last of the meringue. Serve with a bowl of whipped cream.