Summer fruit meringue

After an indulgent Christmas dinner, dessert ought to be the last thing on my mind. I am full to bursting point with turkey, stuffing and roast potatoes, but will always find room for something sweet.

In our house a meringue based dessert – usually Pavlova or Roulade – is a favoured choice to provide a sugar hit without the stodginess of cake.

Meringue is really easy to make and in this version I spread the mixture evenly across a baking tray to give a much flatter bake than a traditional soft Pavlova. This is a tip I picked up from an old Jamie Oliver cookbook and it gives a much chewier and crispier finish.

The fruit sauce adds a layer of sharpness that cuts through the sweetness of the meringue, bringing a touch of summer freshness to a festive Christmas spread.

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Toppings

  • 200 grams strawberries (reserve a handful for decoration)
  • 100 grams blueberries (reserve a handful for decoration)
  • 30 grams caster sugar
  • 400mls double cream
  • A bar of milk chocolate or flake

Method

  • To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 150 Celsius.
  • Put the egg whites into a bowl and whisk until they form firm peaks.
  • Keep the mixer running and slowly add the sugar and salt a little at a time.
  • Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for roughly 7-8 minutes, until the meringue is white and glossy. To test if the mixture is smooth, rub a little between your fingertips to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and use a little blob of meringue to stick it to the tray.
  • Spread the meringue across the baking tray, using the back of a spoon to swirl it into a rectangle shape.
  • Bake in the oven for one hour until crisp on the outside, it should be soft and sticky inside.
  • Allow the meringue to cool before adding the toppings.  
  • In a small saucepan combine the strawberries, blueberries and sugar. Over a low heat, allow the sugar to dissolve.
  • When the fruit has softened, pass the mixture through a sieve.
  • Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks.
  • Pour the fruit sauce over the meringue and then top with the whipped cream.
  • Cut the remaining strawberries and blueberries into small pieces and spread across the cream and drizzle over any remaining sauce.
  • Finally crumble or grate the chocolate across the top to finish and allow the meringue to set in the fridge for an hour before tucking in.  

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