So it's official. This fruit-filled beauty is practically health food. I'll just have another slice to make sure I'm getting all my vitamins.
Berry Meringue with Vanilla Cream
adapted from Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie
For the Meringue:
6 large free-range or organic egg whites
300g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
For the Vanilla Cream:
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
Lots of mixed fresh berries for topping (I used strawberries, blueberries and blackberries)
Make the Meringue:
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C. Take a piece of baking paper and mark out a rectangle on it measuring 30 x 10cm with a pencil and ruler. Turn the paper over, you should be able to see the pencil marks on the other side. Put the baking paper onto a baking sheet, penciled side down.
Put your egg whites into a bowl, making sure there are absolutely no little pieces of egg shell or egg yolk in them. Whisk on medium until the whites form firm peaks. You'll know that it's thick enough if you can hold the bowl upside-down over your head.
With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and the pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 7 or 8 minutes until the meringue mixer is deliciously white and glossy. Dip your finger in the meringue and rub the mixture between your thumb and index finger. It should feel perfectly smooth. If it feels at all grainy, whisk for a little bit longer. Keep a close eye on the meringue because if you whisk for too long, it will collapse.
Using a spatula, spread the meringue mixture onto the baking paper so that it fits into the pencil markings. You should have a rough rectangle measuring 30 x 10cms. Carefully place the tray into the preheated oven and bake the meringue for an hour until crisp on the outside, but chewy and soft on the inside. Take the meringue out of the oven and leave to cool.
Make the Vanilla Cream:
Whip the cream with the vanilla seeds until it forms soft peaks.
Assemble the Meringue:
Using your fingers, gently press down on the centre of the cooled meringue to create a hollow in the middle of it. Fill the hollow with the vanilla cream then top with berries.