These luscious pyramids of baked meringues interspersed with whipped cream and tiny wild strawberries normally make their appearance along with the first fragoline — wild strawberries — in May. Earlier in the year the dessert is usually made with a sweetened chestnut puree (see the variation at the end of this recipe).
The quality of this dessert depends mostly upon the freshness and ripeness of the berries. Wild strawberries are infrequently available in the United States, but perfectly ripe local berries are a good alternative. And, although not particularly Italian, a mixture of raspberries, blueberries, and currants or gooseberries would make an admirable substitute.
For success with this recipe, choose a day that is neither overly hot nor humid for assembling, so that the cream does not melt during the time it takes to put together the bad at room temperature. After they are assembled, they will hold up well in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 hours; a longer wait will make the meringues soften too much.