Using this kitchen freedom, I have been making an effort to cook regularly and have started hosting dinner parties again! A dinner party with friends usually involves a rich, chocolate brownie or a pudding that smells good enough to overpower the lack of any attempt (or success) at decoration and presentation. But no more!
This is my attempt a meringue layer cake that to be honest was more of a learning experience than a success. Things to remember with meringue:
- Don't make it on a humid day (you'll notice mine is quite flat)
- Make sure to beat your eggs well to get as much air as possible
- Assemble the cake no more than 30 minutes before you eat it. The creme patisserie will make the meringue soft and you don't want to lose the crunchy chewiness
- Most of all, even when it fails, it's still delicious and good friends will lie and agree with you
- 6 egg whites (save the yolks for the creme patisserie!)
- 300g cater sugar
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 cup pecans, finely processed
- Seasonal Berries (preferably not frozen as they will be too wet)
- Icing sugar to dust
- 300ml full fat milk
- 30g unsalted good quality butter
- pinch of salt
- 60g unrefined caster sugar
- 30g plain flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 140ºC. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper and trace the bottom of a loaf tin onto each
- Beat the egg whites until there are stiff peaks. Then slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, make sure to beat well after each addition.
- Gently fold through the vinegar, vanilla and pecans. Making sure not to knock the air out of the eggs as you go.
- Divide the mix between the 3 baking trays. Stack each meringue thick to get it as chewy as possible
- Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave the meringues in it to cool.
- Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thick ribbons form when the beaters are lifted
- Seive the flour over the top and mix until smooth
- Put the milk, butter, salt and vanilla in a medium sized, non-stick saucepan.
- Bring the milk to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour a ladle full over the eggs. Stir quickly until smooth. Repeat until about half of the milk has been incorporated
- Pur the egg and milk mix into the saucepan with the remaining milk.
- Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for 3 minutes
- Cover the surface with gladwrap or baking paper so that a skin doesn't form
- To assemble, place one of the meringues on a flat plate and spread with a third of the creme patissiere.
- Scatter a layer of berries, top with another of the meringues and repeat