Hazelnut Meringue Cake

Mary Berry's hazelnut meringue cake recipe is a perfect dinner party showstopper dessert. Impress your guests with this extravagant, but deceptively simple, dish.

Introduction

This has become a classic favourite, the raspberries and hazelnuts being a particularly good combination. Fill the meringue about 3 hours before serving; it will then cut into portions without splintering.

Ingredients

140g (4½ oz) shelled hazelnuts
4 large egg whites
250g (9oz) caster sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract
½ tsp white wine vinegar
For the filling:
300ml (½ pint) whipping or pouring double cream, whipped
225g (8oz) fresh raspberries
Icing sugar, for dusting
Raspberry coulis, to serve (optional)

Essential kit

You will need 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins, and a food processor.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/gas 5. Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich tins and then line the bases with non-stick baking parchment.

Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and put in the oven for about 10 minutes, then tip onto a clean tea towel and rub well together to remove the skins. (Some stubborn ones may need to go back into the oven but don’t worry about getting every last bit of skin off, it’s not necessary.) Grind the nuts in a food processor.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar, a teaspoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Whisk until the mixture is very stiff, stands in peaks, and all the sugar has been added. Whisk in the vanilla extract and wine vinegar then fold in the prepared nuts. Divide the mixture between the tins and level the surface with a palette knife.

Bake for 30–40 minutes, but no longer. The top of the meringue will be crisp and the inside soft and marshmallow- like. Turn out of the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the filling, whisk the cream until thick. Use about two-thirds to sandwich the meringues together, along with two-thirds of the raspberries. Spread the remaining cream over the top, scatter on the remaining raspberries and dust with icing sugar. Serve with raspberry coulis, if you like.

If you don’t have sandwich tins, you can cook the mixture on two flat baking sheets, spread out into two circles. It won’t look quite so neat, but it tastes the same! Walnuts can be used in place of the hazelnuts in the meringue. Choose a fruit to complement the walnuts, such as strawberries or ripe peaches in season.

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