Strawberry Custard Meringue

Hazelnut meringues are sandwiched with a custard filling for a memorable dessert

Prep:  40 mins;  Cook:  35-50 mins baking, plus cooling

Serves:  8

Ingredients:  3 eggs, separated; 175g (6oz) caster sugar; 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar; 75g (3oz) ground hazelnuts

Filling and topping:  1 1/2 tsp custard powder; 1 tbsp sugar; 300ml (1/2 pt) milk; 350g (12oz) strawberries, hulled and halved; 284ml (1/2 pint) pot of double cream, whipped

  • Preheat the oven to 190oC/375oF/Gas 5.  Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.  Draw a 20cm (8in) circle on each.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff but no dry. Gradually whisk in the sugar.  Whisk until very stiff and shiny.  Whisk in the vinegar.  Fold in the ground hazelnuts.
  • Divide the meringue equally between the circles on the baking sheets and spread evenly.  Bake for 35-40 mins, or until crisp on the outside.  Swap the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  • Ease the meringue off the paper and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Mix the custard powder, sugar and 2 tablespoons milk.  Heat the remaining milk until boiling, pour onto the custard and stir well.  Return to the pan.  cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring until thick.
  • Beat a little custard into the egg yolks.  Return to the pan and heat gently, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to cook the yolks.  Remove from the heat, cover with wet greaseproof paper and leave until cold.
  • Invert one of the meringues onto a large serving plate.  Spoon over the custard.  Top with half the strawberries, two-thirds of the cream and the remaining meringue.  Decorate with the rest of the strawberries and cream.
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