Why combine meringue with whipped cream? You’ll find out when you spoon it over a hot dessert: The egg whites insulate the cream and keep it from melting so quickly. The meringue also lightens the texture of the cream and enhances its whiteness.
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1cupheavy cream, chilled
Whisk the sugar and egg whites in a medium stainless-steel bowl to combine. Place over a medium saucepan of simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Whisk until the whites are very warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved (rub a dab between your fingers to check for any grains of sugar).
Beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. The meringue must be completely cool before adding the whipped cream. Let the bowl stand briefly in a bowl of cold (not iced) water, if necessary.
In a chilled medium bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla until quite stiff (it will be softened by the addition of the meringue, so beat it a bit more than usual). Fold a large dollop of the whipped cream into the meringue, then fold the meringue into the remaining cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.