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This is a stunning way to finish your Christmas celebrations – beautiful layers of meringue, sandwiched with vanilla whipped cream and fresh berries.
8 free-range egg whites
1½ cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1½ tablespoons cocoa
2½ cups fresh cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
1 cup thick plain/Greek yoghurt
600 grams fresh mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries)
3 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes, plus cooling
Preheat the oven to 220°C bake.
Meringue: Beat the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks start to form. Add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time while continuing to beat. Add the vanilla and continue to mix for 5-6 minutes until thick and glossy. (Rub a little of the meringue between two fingers, if it feels completely smooth it’s ready.) Use a spatula to fold in the cocoa.
Take two baking trays and place a sheet of baking paper on each one. Draw a 21cm circle on each sheet. Divide the meringue mixture between each circle and use the back of a spoon to swirl it around to the edges. Place both trays in the oven and immediately reduce to 120°C. Bake for 90 minutes then turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside to cool completely before removing. (Meringues can be made up to two days ahead.)
Assemble: Beat the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds in a large bowl until you have soft peaks. Fold in the yoghurt.
Place one cooled meringue on a cake plate or serving platter. Spread with half the cream mixture and arrange half the berries on top. Place the second meringue on top gently, top with the remaining cream, pile high with remaining berries and scatter over the nuts. Serve immediately.