This is the perfect centrepiece for any Christmas meal. A layer of meringue with a chewy inside, and crisp outside, topped with a silky-smooth whipped cream and some tart berries to finish. This is a mile away from the stodgy Christmas puddings or mince pies you might be used to, and a sure-fire way to tip you into that festive food coma.
- 4 medium egg whites
- 220g sugar (caster, icing, or a mix)
- 400ml double cream
- 200g berries (fresh or defrost some frozen berries in the fridge for 2 hours)
- Icing sugar, to finish
*Before starting, make sure your bowl and whisk is super clean, as any spots of fat can prevent the egg whites whipping up full. To be sure you can wipe them with some lemon juice or white wine vinegar*
1) Preheat oven to 150C. In a large mixing bowl over a bain marie (put the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 1 ½ inches of boiling water on a low heat on the hob) whisk the egg whites until foamy.
2) Slowly add the sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon, while still whisking. Then take off the bain marie and beat until stiff peaks (this will take about 15 minutes using an electric whisk and about 25 minutes by hand, you might want to take turns with your housemates!)
3) Draw a circle on a large piece of making parchment, then flip the paper over and use a little drop of the meringue to secure it down to a large baking tray. Then grab two large spoons and dollop the meringue in little circles, following the shape on the paper. Use the back of a spoon on a spatula to smooth the meringue slightly.
4) Turn the oven down to 100C and bake for 3 hours. The meringue should easily peel away from the paper when its dried out enough.
5) While it cools on the tray, whisk the double cream in a large bowl until soft peaks (stop whisking as soon as it can hold its shape when the whisk lifts up). Spread over the meringue wreath.
6) Finally, top with the berries, and an optional sprinkling of icing sugar and holly wreath decorations!
Note: If you have an electric whisk it will speed things up, but I did manage to do it all with a hand whisk so don’t worry either way.
Featured image courtesy of Victoria Hornagold
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