1 cup fresh whole or sliced berries, sliced banana, sliced kiwi, sliced kumquats, and/or sliced oranges
For meringue shells, preheat oven to 250°F. Cover one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw ten 2½-inch circles on the paper. Set aside.
Combine egg whites, ½ teaspoon vanilla, the cream of tartar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add ½ cup sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip. Pipe the mixture in a spiral pattern over the circles on the parchment paper, piping the side of each circle up to a height of 1¼ inches. Bake for about 1¼ hours or until the meringues appear dry and are firm when lightly touched. Cool the meringues on the parchment paper on a wire rack. Peel from the paper; transfer to a serving platter.
Meanwhile, for filling: combine ⅓ cup sugar and the cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
Place egg product in a small bowl. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into the egg. Add the egg mixture to the remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vegetable oil spread and vanilla. Place the saucepan in a very large bowl half-filled with ice water. Stir the filling constantly for 2 minutes to cool quickly. Transfer the filling to a medium bowl. Cover surface of the filling with plastic wrap. Chill for 2 to 24 hours.
Spoon the filling into the meringue shells. Serve at once or cover and chill for up to 30 minutes before serving. Top individual servings with fruit.
Tips: We do not recommend a sugar substitute for the meringue shells.
If using a sugar substitute for the filling, we recommend Splenda Granular or Sweet 'N Low bulk or packets to substitute for the granulated sugar in filling. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to ⅓ cup granulated sugar. Nutrition Per Serving with Substitute: same as below, except 95 cal., 17 g carb. Exchanges: 1 other carb. Carb choices: 1.
Equipment: Parchment paper
Variation: Chocolate Meringue Tarts: Prepare as above, except for filling increase sugar to ½ cup and add ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the sugar. Nutrition Per Serving: 139 cal. 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 3 mg chol., 85 mg sodium, 27 g carb., 1 g fiber, 4 g pro. Exchanges: 1.5 other carb., 0.5 fat. Carb. choices: 2. Nutrition Per Serving with Substitute: same as above, except 105 cal., 18 g carb. Exchanges: 1 other carb. Carb choices: 1.