How but in custom and ceremony

Are Innocence and Beauty Born?

—William Butler Yeats


Maple Meringue

Thursday, November 1, 2012

When others learn that I do not eat refined sugar, they inevitably ask about birthdays and holidays. The question that comes immediately to my mind is not one I’ve often asked aloud: “Why celebrate life with poison?” Instead, I remind them of honey and fresh fruit, and mention my very limited enjoyment of maple syrup, rapadura, and very dark chocolate. I ordinarily forego dessert, as even these “whole sweets” can burden the body in excess; but a few healthy treats enliven the festive seasons without making me ill or hyperactive.

Tragic self-denial this is not. One of my favorite cookbooks, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, has not one but three sections dedicated to satisfying your sweet tooth in a more wholesome way. One of their recipes helped me realize a favorite dessert after several years of avoiding refined sugar.

Maple Meringue

6 egg whites

pinch of sea salt

3 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Line a cookie sheet with buttered parchment paper. Beat egg whites with salt until they form stiff peaks. Beat in arrowroot. Slowly add maple syrup and vanilla, beating constantly. Place six ‘blobs’ of egg white mixture on parchment paper and form a little hollow in each one. Cook overnight in a warm oven, about 150℉. Let cool before removing parchment paper. (Maple syrup pooled a little at the edges my meringues as they baked. This stuck to the parchment paper, but it was easy to chip off the hardened syrup along with the paper.) Store meringues in an air-tight container until ready to use.

These maple meringues have a delightful crunch, melt in the mouth, and have a delicious hint of maple and vanilla. They can be enjoyed alone, or made fancy with vanilla whipped cream, a sprinkling of brandy, fresh berries, almond slivers, or shaved dark chocolate. ❖

All In Good Time—Here in tropical South Florida, berries are a winter crop that will soon be coming into season. In the more temperate regions, it is best to avoid the cooling effects of these more commonly ‘summertime’ fruits. In her book Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, herbalist Aviva Jill Romm recommends against eating fruit out of season, affirming that it contributes to cold and mucous in the body.


January 10, 2012         Originally published as “A Sugar ‘Freek’ Holiday” on the blog Cabbages and Kings.

November 1, 2012      Revised and expanded for publication as “Maple Meringue” on the blog Linnet on the Leaf.

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