Want to add a touch of fun to an otherwise simple Summer Berry Salad? Pop these delectable meringue moments amidst the freshest of berries and watch everyone smash through this dessert fruit salad like they hadn’t eaten in days!
What Is Sumac?
I discovered sumac when I wanted to expand my home cooking repertoire into Middle Eastern cuisine. And along the way, I was introduced to this wonderful ingredient which I have found to be the perfect companion for my salad recipes.
Sumac is a bush, native to the Middle East, although you can easily find them in the Mediterranean region. The sumac bush produces red berries which are dried and then pounded to form a coarse powder, purple-red in colour.
What Does Sumac Taste Like?
As sumac powder comes from berries, it has a fruity, tangy taste. Truly like a powdered version of a berry with strong citrus notes.
How Do I Use Sumac?
Sumac is often used as a rub, a mixture or simply as a seasoning. Its versatility is second to none and it has the incredible ability to enhance any dish. Sumac may be rubbed onto kebabs, chicken or fish, they can be mixed with yoghurt, sprinkled on hummus and even mixed in drinks.
It can be used to season cream cheese and potato fries and is also used in za’atar and dukkah mixes.
Personally, I love mixing it in my salad dressings. But for this recipe, I thought I’d try something a little different and gosh…. did it turn out deliciously!
Why Are Berries So Good for You?
I love all berries and there is nothing better than being able to mix them altogether to create not only a delicious berry salad but one that is also incredibly good for you. Here are some general health benefits of eating berries, in particular, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries:
- Loaded with antioxidants which help to slow the aging process.
- High in fibre.
- High in immune-boosting vitamins A and C.
- Good for heart health as they are rich in polyphenols.
- Strong anti-inflammatory properties.
- Great source of folate, one of the B-vitamins.
- Excellent source of potassium which helps reduce blood pressure and water retention.
- Helps lower cholesterol levels.
- Lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Good for your skin.
- Helps to prevent urinary tract infections.
- Can be enjoyed on nearly all types of diets.
- Low in fat and has no saturated fat
And a whole bunch of other benefits, too scientifically complicated for me to decipher. I’m just going to continue eating them on a regular basis!
Difference Between Apple Cider and Apple Juice
In concocting the apple cider dressing for this easy fruit salad, it would be prudent for me to mention that I used apple cider NOT apple cider vinegar! Just wanted to clarify that. We’re not making a vinaigrette; in case you were thinking this was an odd dressing to put in the fruit salad!
I do love my apple cider, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Particularly in the summer over a tall glass of ice as we’re entertaining our guests by the BBQ.
At the basic level, apple cider and apple juice, are essentially juices. The main difference is that cider is unfiltered and unpasteurised apple juice. They usually have less sugar, is a little fizzy due to the fermentation process of the naturally occurring yeast and they use every part of the apple, including the core.
It is usually slightly darker in colour and cloudy in appearance. Commercial apple cider however is usually pasteurised but if you’d like real cider, head to the farmers markets.
It’s interesting to note that in Australia, apple cider is automatically associated with the alcoholic kind. In the US, alcoholic apple cider is known as hard cider.
For non-alcoholic apple cider, my preference is the organic kind. More wholesome, less processed and filtered with no added sugar or preservatives. Hence, the perfect beverage to make my apple cider dressing.
Why I Love Summer Berry Salad with Sumac Dusted Meringues
There are so many reasons why I adore this blueberry, raspberry and strawberry fruit salad. Well, any berries you can get your hands on really. It simply is an easy fruit salad with the only component that requires cutting is the strawberry.
I also love it because it’s such a festive fruit salad with a fun, yet simple addition of the melt in your mouth meringues. It’s a cute way of enhancing a whole bunch of berries and adding a touch of “dessert” into the mix.
How to Make Summer Berry Salad with Sumac Dusted Meringues
How to Prepare the Berries
This is the part I love the most.
Remove the leaves and stem of the strawberry. Depending on the size, cut the strawberries in half or quarters. In the same bowl, add the rest of the berries. And that’s it!
How to Make the Apple Cider Dressing
In a small saucepan on low to medium heat, add apple cider and juice of ½ lime. As it starts to boil, slowly add the caster sugar. Stir until completely dissolved. If you want it super sweet and more like a syrup, continue adding more sugar to thicken the apple cider.
Once it has cooled, add it to the berries and mix thoroughly.
This is such a versatile fruit salad dressing and you can literally use it on any fruit salad you’re creating.
How to Make the Sumac Dusted Meringues
You do this part at the very end, just before serving as you don’t want the meringues to go soggy. As you know, I am not a baker and I have zero cake making skills. Hence when I contribute something sweet to the table, it usually comes in the form of a fruit salad. But it doesn’t mean I can’t spruce up my fruit salad recipes.
I did not make these meringues. Apart from not knowing how to make them in the first instance, I simply don’t have the time! And meringues are readily available in supermarkets so if you’re like me, just buy a packet.
You can get the traditional nests and simply break them up like you would in an Eton Mess. I chose to buy the cute meringue moments so that I could dot them around my berry salad.
But if you’re just plain talented, enjoy the meringue making process!
So, in a small bowl, put 2 tbsp of sumac.
With a small brush or just your fingers, dab a little bit of the apple cider dressing around the top of the meringues. This will help the sumac stick to the meringue. Don’t be too heavy handed with the apple cider dressing as you don’t want clumps of sumac. We just want a dusting of the deep red, purple powder on the meringue.
Turn the meringue upside down and dip them into the sumac. Or just put it in the bowl of sumac and use a teaspoon to cover the meringue with the sumac. Once a light sprinkle has stuck to the meringue, put them aside. Finish all the meringues before adding to the berry salad.
How to Assemble the Fruit Salad
Put the dressed berries onto a shallow serving bowl.
Place the sumac dusted meringues on top of the salad. Don’t cover the entire salad as you want the contrast of the bright white against the darker colours of the berries. And that is it! Super easy!
When I first served this summer berry salad at a recent dinner party, I got some wows! Which as you know, warms my heart! The kids got stuck into it as they loved the lemony tasting airy crunch of the meringue against the sweetened fresh berries. The colours were beautiful and was the perfect end to my dinner.
This berry salad would be great for the festive season or if you just simply want to watch the children devour the fruit salad, leaving none for the adults to try!
More Dessert Salad Recipes:
- Stone Fruit Salad with Tapioca Pearls
- Red and Green Fruit Salad with Vanilla Persian Fairy Floss
- Blueberry Salad with Plum Wine Infused Dragon Fruit
- Cherry Tamarillo Salad with Lemon Thyme
- Red Fruit Salad with Dark Chocolate Biscuit Soil
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:
Summer Berry Salad with Sumac Dusted Meringues
- ½ cup apple cider
- ½ lime, juiced
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 cups mixed berries
- 2 tbsp sumac
- 1 pkt meringue moments, small
- In a small saucepan on low to medium heat, add apple cider and juice of ½ lime.
- Slowly add the caster sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Remove from the stovetop and allow it to cool.
- If you’re using strawberries, remove the stem and leaves. Cut into half or quarters if the strawberries are really big.
- Add all berries into a large mixing bowl.
- Put 2 tbsp of sumac into a small bowl.
- With a small brush or just your fingers, dab a little bit of the apple cider dressing around the top of the meringues. Turn the meringue upside down and dip them into the sumac. Or just put it in the bowl of sumac and use a teaspoon to cover the meringue with the sumac. Set aside.
- Put the dressed berries onto a shallow serving bowl.
- Place the sumac dusted meringues on top of the salad.
- Serve immediately.
- You can use meringue nests if you can’t find meringue moments. Just break them up into smaller pieces.
- If you’re making your own meringues, you can flavour them with vanilla essence or honey.
You can use alcoholic or non-alcoholic apple cider.
- If you prefer a sweeter, more syrupy dressing, add more caster sugar. Do it slowly until you get the consistency you’re after.