Meringue is the main attraction, not just a topping, in this easy dessert

Meringue Cream Torte

Soft meringue has earned its fan base in this country as a cloud on top of lemon pie. But in Mexico, it often becomes the main event as a tender torte. Removed from its pan and cooled, it relaxes into a soft cake shape, pale gold on the outside but dense and white throughout.

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In Mexico, the topping is usually whipped cream, which smooths out and hides any dips and bumps in the torte. The combination is lovely with crushed berries. But for the holidays, I like to flavor the cream with a hazelnut-and-chocolate spread. For all of its fragility, the torte can be made in advance, cuts neatly, and holds its shape.