Make and freeze meringue to simplify completing dessert on party day
5egg whites (room temperature)
¼tsp. cream of tartar
1¼c. sugar (sifted)
2 (3oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1tblsp. lemon juice
½c. sifted confectioners sugar
½c. mashed ripe bananas
Fewdrops red food color
1 (10oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed
1c. heavy cream, whipped
Glazed banana slices
1tsp. lemon juice
Reserved strawberry juice
¼tsp. red food color (about)
To make meringue shell, beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (about 10 minutes).
Cover a baking sheet with heavy brown paper. Draw a heart shape, 12" high on the paper. Spread meringue to edges of heart shape; build up sides 2" to make a shell.
Bake in very slow oven (250°) 1½ hours. Turn off heat; leave meringue in closed oven 3 hours. Remove from paper with spatula.
To make filling, soften cream cheese; beat in lemon juice, confectioners sugar, mashed bananas and food color.
Drain strawberries, reserving juice (refreeze juice, if you wish). Fold berries and whipped cream into cheese mixture. Spoon filling into meringue shell. Wrap carefully and freeze.
On the day you plan to serve the torte, combine cornstarch, white sugar, water, lemon juice, reserved strawberry juice and food color in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until glaze is thick and clear; cool slightly.
Remove filled meringue from freezer; unwrap.
Peel bananas; score with a fork; slice. Arrange slices on filling; spoon glaze over bananas. Refrigerate 1 to 3 hours.