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